Bfefe topfeafeBte teste: Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2013 http://archive.org/details/scenesincidentsiOOclay SCENES AND INCIDENTS IN IRISH LIFE. BY AN IEISHMAN, Author of " The Adventures of a Bfack-thorne." ]V[oiiti;eal : PRINTED BY JOHN LOVELL & SON, 1884. Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the year one thousand eight hundred and eighty-four, by T. H. Clayton, in the office of the Minister of Agriculture and Statistics at Ottawa. DEDICATORY PREFACE. TO THEE, MY DEAREST MOTHER, ERIN, OF NOBLE NAME, FAME AND TITLES, TO ALL THY CHILDREN I DEDICATE THIS PRODUCTION OF MY HEART, AND, ALTHOUGH A POOR AND OBSCURE EXILE, LAY THIS MY HUMBLE OFFERING AT THY FEET. BEG FROM EACH AND ALL THY CHILDREN, SONS AND DAUGHTERS, AT HOME AND ABROAD, AS ALSO ALL WHOSE LOVING SYMPATHIES ARE WITH THEE, AFFECTIONATE RECOGNITION AND SYMPATHY IN THIS MY HUMBLE DEFENCE AND PLEA FOR THEE AND THINE, AS ALSO A LOVING MEMENTO, AND AND, " FOR ERIN IS MY HOME." THE AUTHOR. CONTENTS. Introductory Lecture in two Chapters. Chapter Page I. Sentimental Cogitations, with a little of Hamlet's Ghost 9 II. Humor and Hunger, or Facts and Famine ,. 28 III. Rural Scenes and Incidents ,. , 63 IV. A Gala and a Gale day. — Two thoroughly opposite Irish Scenes. — Rent, Dinner and Dance. — Supper and Dance over the dead 88 V. A Nocturnal Visitor.— An Irish Fox-hunt. — A Dead Man doing Duty for the Living, and Attends his own Funeral. — A Church-yard Scene. — A Chase on the Shannon for Life, and Ballads 108 VI. The Dead Warning, or Ghost of Gurteen.— Old Kit Murrought, the Lone Tenant of the Old Abbey. — A Visit to her. — Her Prediction. — A Series of Ridi- culous Scenes. — Poetic Effusions 134 VII. Funereal Chapter, with Love 174 VIII. A Scattering. — An Elopement from the Ball-room 201 IX. All that Glitters is not Gold.— Sunshine and Shadow.. 211 X. A Ghastly Scene and Secret 226 XL A Sister's Terrible Secret. — Devotion and Death, or an Execution's Ghastly Results 272 XII. Kaleidoscopic Chapter— Some Fun and Farewell 301 PREFACE. I have neither apology, excuse nor explanation to offer to the public respecting the volume pub- lished herewith, u Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life," only, that being unable to secure the services of an artist to produce more accurately some of those scenes depicted by me, I have been compelled to borrow some of the sketches. Nor, am I satisfied with them myself as graphically por- traying the scenes and characters I describe, of which they fall short considerably. Since the first notice of the publication of the work appeared, I have experienced much kind assistance, encouragement and notice from a large number of friends, including the Editors of many of our most influential papers in town and country, and for which I offer my most sincere thanks and gratitude. The Author. )tmtp and j(ncicbis in |i|islt |ife. CHAPTER L Sentimental Cogitations, Sc. AND of my forefathers, Erin-go-bragh ! Let the music, mirth and mourning inspired by these words fill the heart of the reader, so that, from grave to gay, he or she may enjoy and appre- ciate the contents of this little book, more especially intended for the patriotic, enthusiastic Irish men and women who, in spirit, once more would revisit scenes of yore, — the dance, the wake, the fair green and fight, fiddle and fireside, pipes and potheen, love and legend. The lamp must be replenished, but, even then It will not burn so long as I must watch : My slumbers — if I slumber — are not sleep But a continuance of enduring thought, Which then I can resist not In my heart There is a vigil, and these eyes but close To look within, and yet I live, and bear The aspect and form of breathing men. But grief should be the instructor of the wise. Sorrow is knowledge ; they who know the most Must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth. The tree of knowledge is not that of life. — From Manfred. B 10 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. In my dreams I revisit old scenes, I cross the old pasture, and over the stile in the hawthorn hedge into the lonely and romantic old lane or bocheen leading to the humble thatched home of a neighbor- ing farmer. The day is done ; its labor and toil is over, and a little group is assembled around the cheerful peat fire, upon top of which a piece of bog- deal is placed, which blazes up and lends a glow r to hearts and faces. The country musician blows away at his flute, playing some lively jig or reel, and beating time the while with his foot, while a dancing pair, regardless of the day's toils or the morrow's, nimbly trip it as in days of yore. Anon I hear the song and merry laugh. I pass in through the half door, accept the proffered chair, enjoy the scene and feel its gladdening influence. Suddenly a form darkens the door, and the bright hearth becomes dark and cold, the faces fade, the music and laughter become a wail, a piercing cry ; I hear the sound of iron crow-bar, tumbling stones and rafters. I struggle, and awake, to think and grieve over my dream and its reality. It is recorded of Curran that, upon an inflated youth boasting to him of his illustrious family, Curran drily remarked, — "your family is like the potatoe when growing, the best part is under Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 11 the ground." Does this apply to the Celtic bulb of the present day ? I trust not ; nor can I bear to think that the glories of old Ireland are gone and forever, — nay, rather, do I believe that the eternal fire of patriotism is still aglow in the hearts of Erin's sons and daughters, and that the beacon fires of liberty are only smouldering on the high altars of the green hills of the Emerald Isle, and ready to flash forth the glad news, when the golden rays of the sun of liberty are about to gild the highest peaks of her majestic hills, and flood her smiling valleys with its golden light, and, penetrating the resting- places of the illustrious dead — peer and peasant, priest and poet — convey the glad tidings to their sleeping ashes — as the ray of inspiration lights up the soul of the living prophet — that the seeds they have sown have withstood the chilly storms of time and have attained to the golden ear, the rustling stems of which, like the strings of the aeolian harp, load each passing zephyr with sweetest sounds, and wake the echoes of the fairy caves ; or, like the silver- winged bark of the ocean, glide o'er the glad waves to distant climes, freighted with the precious news to the mourning exile, who, in turn, breathes it to the ashes of those sleeping exiles, who, like the patriarchs of old, went down to the grave full of a 12 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. sure and certain hope, begotten of faith, springing out of a righteous cause. Has England drawn Ireland to her side as a loving mother her child? No. Has she endeavored to obliterate the memories of past cruelties and injustices by loving caresses and conciliation ? No. Has her breast heaved with sorrow as she beheld the multitude of Erin's children stand upon the sea- shore, and heard the frantic cry, the mournful wail, and suppressed moan which went up to Heaven from breaking hearts ? Would to God I could say from my heart, yes. Like Israel's tribes of old when carried away captive, and, by the waters of Babylon, their broken- stringed harps hung desolate on the willows, refused to sing the songs of Zion in a strange land, or forget the land of their forefathers which they loved so well, so it is with the sons and daughters of Erin ; no matter what their comforts or surroundings on a foreign shore — Eem ember thee ? Yes, while there's life in this heart, It shall never forget thee, all lorn as thou art, More dear in thy sorrow, thy gloom and thy showers Than the rest of the world in their sunniest hours. — Moore. There is one thing certain, that, roam where he may, whether amongst the mighty pines of the Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 13 north, or languidly straying amongst the orange groves of the south, and treading upon its floral car- pet, which lades each passing breeze with richest odors, surrounded by all the varied glories of these climes, the Irishman's heart fondly turns to that gem of the ocean — the Emerald Isle — true as the needle to the pole. Its history and associations or memories are sacredly enshrined in and entwined about his heart, yea, as the ashes of the beloved dead are enshrined in the loving bosom of old Graunia Wail and rest in peace. Yes, beneath the shade of the spreading ash or elm, or under the shadow of the old church tower, or within the sacred precincts of the grass-grown, ivy- crowned abbey, rest the ashes of the honest, hospit- able race of Erin's sons and daughters, whose pious, precious memories, like the aroma from orange groves afar, come laden on the wings of time. The love-sick swain, the modest maiden — faithful types of the Paul and Virginia of another isle — are found in all their blessed simplicity in our Emerald Isle, unskilled and untutored in the social and domes- tic vices of other countries in the present day. In Erin's isle, love and music, chivalry and poetry are not exotics. Their delightful influence pervade the soul and fill the breast of every patriot and child 14 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. of the soil- The echoes of the past fill the present ; and all the traits of our ancestors, virtues or vices (for we acknowledge the latter), we possess, nor need we blush to stand side by side with any other people for comparison. Undying love and attachment for the land of his birth, the home of his childhood, exalted, uncom- promising regard and reverence for the sacred ties, social and domestic, are indelibly and prominently stamped upon the Irish character. Terribly impul- sive and fearless if aroused by a sense of injustice, oppression and wrong, perpetrated upon himself or others, — if appealed to in the latter case he does not long remain a disinterested spectator, whether in the cause of a private friend, the Queen of Eng- land, the Pope of Eome, or the Sultan of Turkey. ! England, England, what riches, what precious gems thou art casting away and trampling under foot, in crushing the noble-hearted, lovable peasan- try of Ireland. Start not, mighty Gladstone or strut- ting Forster of buckshot notoriety ! Falstaffs of your day can speak and act to suit your company and procure your sack — Master Shallows, in truth. Look not offended at the charge, suffering, I say — as many before you of a similar type — the noblest peasantry in the wide world to be crushed by the Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 1 5 iron heel of the strong and scattered to the four winds of heaven. When the quays of the seaport towns of England and Ireland were thronged with the weeping sons and daughters of Ireland who, forced to flee the land of their forefathers, stood like slaves waiting to be stowed away in the vile holds of the emigrant ships — only too many of whom were to find a grave in the silent depths of the vast Atlantic — did not England sit unmoved, unconcerned, at the sad spectacle or gloating over the broken-hearted exiles' sorrows ? Did not the wail of sorrow fill the land even unto the foot of the throne, which was defended and upheld from time immemorial by the brave arms of their forefathers, and at the cost of noble Irish blood and heroic lives. Is this the reward ? Is this the return ? Is this the sympathy ? " To submerge Ireland for forty-eight hours would be the best thing that could happen," said a repre- sentative Englishman. I ask, does this find an echo in the hearts of his countrymen, who have neither the honesty nor bravery to say so, but steadily and untiringly keep the crank turning, to scatter and crush a noble, kind-hearted but impulsive race, who have composed the flower of the British army, produced the finest orators, statesmen, diplomatists 16 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. and generals, the world has ever known. And yet, without a sigh, without compassion, without regret, — unmoved at the tears, the unroofed houses, the deso- late hearths and hearts, England's Sovereign and prime ministers have suffered the devastation and depopulation of the brightest gem in the British crown, — a land, a people as I have already said, a prop and pillar of the throne. The foregoing may provoke the smile of the supercilious, the sneer of English cynics, or the pshaw of a noble weaver or court tailor, who, like their Queen, has little more than, if so much as, set foot upon Irish soil, and never studied the Irish character, but think they are a nation of dogs, who ought to be thankful for the bone of their own game after the meat is consumed, — yea that which they have watched, hunted and caught, they are to lay at the feet of their masters, and, should they dare to remonstrate or appropriate a tithe of their own, must submit to be whipped, or kicked into submis- sion, and lick the hand or foot that did so. If the overbent bow snapped, or the boomerang recoiled and struck the unskilled hand, then the cry of treachery, rebellion, and ingratitude was raised. If, through indifference and misrule, grasping and greed of those in authority, a people are reduced to Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 17 seini-starvation and deprived of all honorable re- sources, and by every means striped of every chance and incentive to rise in the social scale, and, down to a date far from remote, prohibited and punished, imprisoned and fined for worshipping England's God, according to their conscience, not permitted to raise the altar of their God in shed or barn, or even by the wayside, under the sheltering hedge, — even dis- persed by foreigners and hirelings, their priests and teachers condemned and punished, — if, I say, under such circumstances as these, and, like an ill-regu- lated, ill-trained family, they fell out among them- selves, and committed unbrotherly acts, and violent, the sin lies at the door of the ruling power, who, not seeing the beam in their own organs of vision, point- ed out the mote they cast into the eyes of others. Show me as vile a page in Irish Eoman Catholic history from any standpoint, social or political, con- stitutional or religious, — as vile I say and disgusting, irreligious and revolutionary as the Protestantism of Cromwellian times. And yet the vilest ranter, peer or peasant, offspring of the veriest offscouring of those times, was preferred to the respectable, peace- able and pious Irish Eoman Catholic, who, deprived of his paternity, and reduced to slavery, saw a stranger and mercenary inherit and occupy his place, 18 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. and, domineering over him, demand unqualified sub- mission. I do not wish to stir up old animosities of clan or creed, but I do old memories of past injustices and wrongs, that justice may be done and not per- petuated. If speaking the truth is to cause strife I shall never cease until my eyes close in death. If a man murdered his neighbor and drove away the widow and orphan, and took possession of the murdered man's property, and, dying, left it to his children, I ask after two centuries had passed away would time obliterate the injustice and wrong, or the title of the descendants of the murdered men, and establish the title of the usurper and murderer, or wipe out his guilt, and make nil the responsibility and duty of his children's children to those of their wronged neighbor, who might be their contempora ries ? I trow not. Such I consider to be the respective positions of England and Ireland to a great extent. Might is not right, but right is sure to become might eventually. Does England complain of inci- pient rebellion in Ireland, and outbreaks ? The cause of disease must be removed and eradicated from the system, else a permanent cure is not accom- plished. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 19 Lord Byron, in an able and sarcastic speech before the House of Lords in 1812, in alluding to the wrongs of the Irish Koman Catholics goes on to say : — " But when you come forward, session sfter session, as your paltry pittance is wrung from you with wrangling and reluctance, to boast of your liberality, well might the Catholic (Irish Koman) exclaim in the words of Prior : — ' To John I owe some obligation, But John unluckily thinks fit To publish it to all the nation, So John and I are more than quit.' Some persons have compared the Catholics to the beggar in Gil Bias. Who made them beggars ? Who are enriched with the spoils of their ancestors ? And cannot you relieve the beggar when your fathers have made him such ? , But there are those who assert that the Catholics have already been too much indulged ; see (cry they) what has deen done : we have given them one entire college, we allow them food and raiment, the full enjoyment of the elements, and leave to fight for us as long as they have limbs and lives to offer, — and yet they are never to be satisfied ! Generous and just disclaimers ! To this and to this only amount the whole of your arguments, when stripped of their sophistry. These personages remind me of the 20 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. story of a certain drummer, who, being called upon in the course of duty to administer punishment to a friend tied to the halberts, was requested to flog high, he did — to flog low, he did, — to flog in the middle, he did — high, low, down the middle, and up again, but all in vain, the patient continued his complaints with the most provoking pertinacity, until the drum- mer, exhausted and angry, flung down his scourge exclaiming, " the devil burn you, there's no pleasing you, flog where one will." Thus it is, you have flogged the Catholic, high, low, here, there, and every- where, and then you wonder he is not pleased. It is true that time, experience, and that weariness which attends even the exercise of barbarity, have taught you to flog a little more gently, but still you continue, till perhaps the rod may be wrested from your hands, and applied to the backs of yourselves aud your posterity." And now, at the time I write, eighteen hundred and eighty-one, England begins to awake out of sleep, though slowly, and, opening the dusty pages of the past, reads the list of unredressed wrongs, and with trembling fingers sets about correcting the unjust weights and scales which meted to Ireland her bitter portion in the past. Prominent members, even of the House of Lords to-day, are reported having Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 21 publicly said that England must thoroughly remedy the wrongs inflicted in past generations, which have never been redressed, and wounds given which have never been healed, nor have efforts been put forth to effect a radical cure." Confiscation and deprivation by force of arms may satisfy one party for a time, — might may be called right for a season — but For- tune's wheel goes round, nevertheless, and changes the chess-men. If England thinks that union lords and aristocrats of illegitimate descent, sent over from England and allotted the lands and estates confiscated, are more profitable to prop up and perpetuate than to seek out the rightful owners and reinstate them, and to promote repatriation instead of expatriation, and con- ciliate them, she will find her mistake — if she has not found it already — when it will be too late. In feudal or modern times a baron or lord without faithful followers was a useless and vain figure -head and many a hated yet tinselled leader has become as a dead dog. England, to prevent the steam escap- ing, puts her hireling sitting upon the safety valve of the engine, "Wild Irishman," and then curses the engine for exploding and causing devastation, con- fusion and death. Let her first go and repress the action of the volcano by throwing mud and stones 22 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. into the crater, and then turn and silence and repress the undying spirit of Erin's injured and insulted children by shot and shell, coercion acts and trans- portation. But those who make her ballads shall control her destinies and preserve the memories of her oppressions and oppressors embalmed in worm wood and aloes of sarcasm and irony, as in the ballad of the Peeler and the Goat, etc. ; while, on the other hand, her victories and her victors, her liberty and liberators shall be indelibly engraven upon the hearts and memories of each succeeding generation, and their glories sung in cabin and hall, tavern and fair green. " Lay his Sword by his Side," She is Far from the Land, &c." They say the Scotch are so clannish wherever they are found, and seldom are they found fault with or their customs or costumes denounced — kilt or kirtle, plaid or pipes — but, on the contrary, promoted and perpetuated by prince, peer and peasant. The Queen pets and fondles everything Scotch; the Prince of Wales dons the half-savage dress of the Highland chieftain, and raises high the thistle. The Scotch desire their distinctive national dress in the army and are not refused, nor dubbed rebel, and yet only a rivulet and imaginary line divide Scot- land from England ; and, further, the church of Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 23 England has no sympathy with the schismatic Pres- byterianism of Scotland, — the ecclesiastical ogre of other days, one of Cromwell's bulldogs. The waters of the mighty ocean roll between the fwo nations, Celt and Saxon, no matter by what name you may designate that portion of water, and yet Irish men and women are derided and condemned if they persist in retaining and cherishing all their national customs, traits and trefoil, as well as Scot- land's sons and daughters. We are coolly told by the matter-of-fact, unsenti- mental pack pedlars of the colonies, who never knew fame nor father, but are in pursuit of both, that, when once we leave the land of our birth, we should forget our nationality, and when in Canada call ourselves Canadians, if in the United States Ameri- cans or Yankees, and, I suppose, if in the Cape of Goodhope, Africans or Zulus, like John Dunn. No, thrice no ! An Irishman is an Irishman and an Irish girl is an Irish girl all the world over ; and few are like them — an obedient, loving child, a faithful wife or husband, a devoted, tender parent, a warm- hearted, unaffected host or hostess, without a super- ior. The Englishman's character and characteristics may be inferred from his cognomen, John Bull. His 24 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. beef and beer give him the big belly and bluntness. The Scotchman, Sandy, with his oat-cake and smoky whisky, and thistle, denote his dry, taciturn, prickly disposition. But Pat, with his potatoes and butter and drop of potheen or mountain dew to wet his trefoil — sacred emblem — and its modest flower, you have the soft tender-hearted disposi- tion of verdant hue, ever refreshing, essentially religious and reverential, mirthful and merry, — subject to fits of extremes, it is true, but never fickle in his faith or friendship; easily conquered by kindness genuine and affection not feigned, notwithstanding that an English lady, who has written a book lately about her experiences during a sojourn on the west coast of Ireland, thinks a prominent feature in the people is ingratitude. I wonder she did not say they had tails, poor woman ! Did we care but to enquire after her breeding and training and personal qualities, we should find that the fault was in her English shop-keeping vulgarity, and that if she had much money she had little deli- cacy, and contrariwise on the part of her Irish neigh- bors. As we shall have something to say about the class of English and Scotch immigrants who from time to time visited and located themselves in Ireland, Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 25 only to clear out again after a little, we shall forego further remarks about them at this stage of our book. What I here record is for the most part what I am personally cognizant of, and I desire to show that Ireland has been ill-treated and slandered, and never fairly and honestly considered nor wisely conciliated, but thrust down and treated with sus- picion. It is an acknowledged fact upon all hands that the Irish are great patriots, enthusiastic lovers of hearths and homes, therefore requiring but little to make them contented and happy. But it did seem to me that the little the poor had was grudged to them, and coveted from them, and of which they seemed to be painfully conscious. In consequence of which they were afraid to look too comfortable, or make little improvements, knowing only too well that such was likely to attract the greedy eye of the landlord, agent or understrapper, — together with the suggestion that more rent could be got for that place. As I write the words even now, my blood boils with indignation and loathing, know- ing well the oppression of the Irish tenant. It has often been a matter of surprise to me, how or upon what the small Irish farmer subsisted, after he had paid his rent, tithe, poor rates and taxes. A farmer c 26 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. with a holding of thirty acres had to make up a sum of from forty to sixty pounds sterling, or, in American currency, two to three hundred dollars. It made no difference to him the rise or fall of real estate, or, for that matter, of produce, except that he felt the pinch and was driven more upon the verge of destitution and despair ; so that, whether the crops were good or bad, prices high or low, this sum in hard cash had to be paid the landlord, and upon the day appointed. If a poor man had the temerity to remonstrate or grumble the reply was, your neighbor will be glad to get it for the same or more, notwithstanding that the land was not worth more than one-half what was being paid for it, even the most favorable years. But to leave the dear old home could not be thought of, come what would ; a potatoe and salt there was preferable to luxuries elsewhere, — a certainty to an uncertainty. The inexorable, greedy landlord knew this, and took a cruel advantage of it, grasped all, looked for more, folded his hands and felt secure. Public peace and prosperity cannot and will not exist, as matters are at present in Ireland and always has been, for that matter, since she has come under the sway of England, if historians are to be Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 27 relied upon, or the reports of speeches by English statesmen in the great halls of her legislature. If the effort at depopulation is successful there may be a peace, but England will be the sufferer, and the landlord's palmy days are over ; But no, such canuot be the case, That England would all Celtic blood efface. 2£f Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. CHAPTER II. Humor and Hunger ; or, Facts and Famine. KEMEMBER a beautiful land far away, An isle by the blue sea carest, Where the fields are so green and the mountain so gray, In that beautiful isle in the west, There rocks, grim and hoary, and stately old hills Still echo the peasant's sweet song, And broad shining rivers and murmuring rills Go flashing and dancing along. Tho' far from thy shores for many long years My feet have a stranger's soil prest Still thy mem'ry comes with a gush of fond tears, Sweet home of my youth in the west. And often I dream I am a bare-legged child, And sit by the old cabin door With a head full of fancies, romantic and wild, And a warm heart with love brimming o'er, As again through the tangled green bushes I roam, Yet, ! I supremely am blest, As even in spirit again I'm at home At home in the beautiful west — There the rocks and the caves, and each bright sunny dell Peep out from her emerald breast. Ah ! well may the fairies continue to dwell In that beautiful isle in the west. — Anon. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 29 It is wonderful what small and apparently insig- nificant things entwine themselves about one's heart and become a mighty cable binding us to persons and places ; and, like travelling through a moving sandy desert, the sweet memories of the pleasant past become as oases to many a weary, wayworn traveller, as echoes from the fairy caves of strains of music long since gone. Faces and figures long since laid away in the silent caves of death revisit us, and dance or laugh, smile or cry, or once again make the heart to flutter as of yore with the tele- graphic look of love. The mind runs rampant, and wild from the sublime to the ridiculous, nor do we seem to realize that such takes place within us, so that, from grave to gay, we flit in thought, and yet feel grave as at a funeral. And how often in the presence of the dead, the heart bursting with sym- pathetic sorrow, has some ridiculous thought flashed across the mind, or some word or sound arrested the ear, or some strange movement or contortion caught the eye, which has almost carried us away, causing our merriment to overleap all bounds, and which we could only repress by great struggling. To record such is by no means to trifle with or ridicule the feelings of a people, but to speak of that which is common to all classes, to put in writ- 30 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, ing feelings, fits or emotions to which all are subject, and to which the writer pleads guilty. The commonplace or superficial reader, the dull thinker, the unimaginative mind, have but little sympathy with those whose minds and souls are like the mercury. The mind, however, which is alive to joy, is also and perhaps equally, alive to sorrow, and often passes by quick transition from one to the other. Lord Byron in his Corsair has shown us that he was not a stranger to this peculiarity of mind : Strange though it seems, yet with extremest grief Is linked a mirth — it doth not bring relief ; The playfulness of sorrow ne'er beguiles, And smiles in bitterness — but still it smiles. No people, I claim, are more susceptible of such emotions than my fellow country-men and women I care not who may retort that such a character can never accomplish any thing great nor be trusted in matters of great moment. I answer, I am not careful to reply to such a self-evident fallacy. The history of the nation, the biographies of her great men and women, whose names are legion, attest the contrary ; yet a person may say, an Irish historian would naturally favor his country and his people. I also reply, ask the great nations of the earth, — the names and deeds of Erin's sons and daughters will be found interwoven in the brightest portions of their Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 31 records. That we should sing or talk of and glory in the exploits of ancestors is nothing strange nor deserving a sneer. Where is the nation or people, I ask, of any parts or spirit above a dog, who have not done so ; such feelings ennoble and elevate, and make true patriots ; burning with a love of home and fatherland, " Lives there a man with soul so dead Who never to himself has said This is my own, my native land." As I look at the present struggles of my country- men and women for their rights, yes, their sacred rights, and hear the tumult from afar, my heart bleeds ; it is the shriek of freedom from an oppressed land, a ground down people, whose sons have been dubbed rebels when they fought for their own rights, but heroes when they fought for the rights of others, — expected, I repeat, to lick the hand that administers the lash, like a dog, nor dare to cry, much less to bite ; the lands of their forefathers confiscated, because they dared to love the land of their birth, their customs and religion better than the strangers and usurper — the conqueror who, with bone in one hand and rod in the other treated the subdued but not conquered Irish to lick or lash, as the noble im- pulse cf some gouty English statesman pulsated from his toe, or as the baskets of Irish grouse, part- 32 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. ridge, snipe and hares, which came from his Irish preserves, were more or less full, and as the report of the agent happened to sound, — for instance : — "I regret that the game is not as plentiful as other years, as I found that many of the tenants had been in the habit of shooting or snaring surrep- titiously. Licky, the caretaker, a faithful fellow and active, went into Flanagan's one day and found they had hare soup for dinner ; they endeavored to conceal it, and threw it out, but Licky picked up a portion of it ? and I had them up before the court the follow- ing week, and had them punished by fine and im- prisonment. Others who were troublesome in the same way I have evicted, and re-let their places to a brother-in-law of Licky's, and a man who was a butler with me for many years — a most respectable fellow. I am determined to rigorously put down this surreptitious hunting by this class of people, otherwise a gentleman can have no sport, nor a morsel of game for luncheon or dinner," &c.&c, John Blackleg Eggshell, Agent" " That's the way to do it," said my lord Champagne, " damn those Irish, they are a devilish set of rebels, a hungry set ; every mother's son of them ought to be transported who are found hunting. I shall see Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 33 that a more vigorous law is enacted next session. " Let me see, ' fifty brace of partridge, twenty -five brace of grouse, eighty brace of snipe, twenty hares, provoking, not half sufficient, there is that dinner this week and ball next, it's not to be tolerated. I shall write to Eggshell to turn them all out on the high road to the devil — set of rebels." Now, dear reader, let me show you the other side : This Flanagan family, alluded to in the foregoing as having sinned against their lord of creation and subject of gout, they had a small holding of four or five acres, part of it reclaimed and drained low- land bog ; an acre of this was sown in oats, an acre or thereabouts in wheat and barley, half an acre in potatoes, a little patch for cabbage, etc., and the rest was fenced in to keep the cow from committing suicide in a bog hole, when suffering from permanent mental aberration or distraction, and stomachic contraction consequent on high rent and fence and low latitude, — and, if I may be pardoned for further digression, this same cow looked to have an easy life of it, and fond of contemplation and other innocent enjoyments ; for instance, her only compan- ions were about half a dozen geese, with forked sticks on their necks, and rather ragged appearance. As some of them thrust their necks through the 34 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. hedge for a blade of grass or with, a hope of being able to go farther, which in some places, as the old proverb has it, would have been to speed worse, the old cow pauses from curling her hair with her tongue to contemplate the efforts of her companions to obtain an extra bit, and anon resume her pas- time. On one side of this field ran an old lane, or bocheen, as such humble avenues to humble* houses are called ; to this the cow more frequently- directed her attention, even walking over to look through the hedge, then toss up her head with evident impatience. There was the ass of the family working away with energy, to keep the way from being overgrown with grass and thistles. This was how the few acres were cultivated, and this the amount of stock, with the exception of a small pig and a few hens which ran at large upon the Queen's high road, and scraped or rooted hard to live and take root. So that ? if we take into con- sideration that in addition to this amount of live stock there was Flanagan, his wife and five children the oldest a girl of twelve years, a boy of ten and the rest, varying in age and size, in addition again to all this, poor Flanagan had to help to support the land- lord, the agent, the bailiff, the beggars in the work- Scenes and Incidents in Lish Life. 35 house, police, jails, public schools and his religion. You will say, outrageous ! so do I ; but this is not all, no, nor the hardest to bear, nor the worst and most severe : he was compelled to feed and keep game for his landlord's pleasure, gastronomic and otherwise, and of which he himself dare not touch one bone, as shown^ when Licky, the bailiff, paid them the visit reported by the agent, to the landlord, when the hare-soup was suddenly thrown out, and the potatoes and salt were the only legitimate articles of food they dared then eat in the presence of a vile, sneaking understrapper. I have said, this unfortunate Irish tenant was compelled to feed the game for his lord- ship's pleasure, and I will also add to pay for the privilege of doing so, too. Flanagan had managed to sow some fall wheat, and this, as well as sundry other works on his little holding, he managed to accomplish in the early morning before he went to his daily labor, with a farmer close by ; for he had to work for his daily hire to support his family, and keep his little cabin home — no un- common thing for men of his class in Ireland. But although the wheat seemed to have started, it never increased in its growth. In like manner the oats and barley appeared to have come to the top of the 36 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. ground, and, in spite of rain and sunshine, stubbornly refused to grow or be coaxed into growing, as if it felt to do so would be hollow mockery, a useless expenditure of natural force. The following dia- logue will explain all : — " God save you, Mr. Leaky, won't you be afther takin a sate," said Flanagan, as the other entered, the little cur at the same time making a charge from under the table at his legs, and showing all his teeth, as if he felt that Leaky, as Flanagan called him, was a most unwelcome and unseason- able visitor. " Flanagan," said Licky, " that dog will get you into trouble. I continually hear him yelping afther the hares, and I think he sometimes kills one, too," and he looked knowingly and significantly at the table and then at a pot which stood on the hearth. Flanagan's wife looked frightened, and the children looked from father to mother and also at the telltale pot. Flanagan stammered out something about his crops being all destroyed, that he would not be left a grain of corn to pay his rint, as his field was alive at night with hares and rabbits, which devoured every blade of wheat and oats which appeared, and that it was a hard thing if a poor man could not keep a dog so much as to drive them off. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 37 This, dear reader, is a plain, unvarnished truth, and to which many a one living on this or the other side of the Atlantic can testify, yea, I have scarcely a doubt but that these lines will meet the eye of those who have suffered such hardships. For this same holding this unfortunate family paid eight pounds sterling per year, nearly forty dollars, exclusive of taxes and poor rates, &c., &c, nor would he receive the slightest consideration nor sympathy when rent day came around, although it was well known to agent and driver the destruction occasioned by the multitude of game, nor dare he, as has been already shown, shoot, snare or hunt with his dog those very creatures which completely demolished the fruits of his hard labor as also that of his poor wife and children, who helped him in the ploughing and planting. With the help of her little boy poor Mary Flanagan yoked the ass to a light harrow, and plodded to and fro to cover the grain, after which the little boy followed the roller, as it did not require the same strength as the harrow, which had to be raised from time to time, to take away the weeds which choked it. With skawn also hanging at her side full of seed potatoes, she worked sticking them, as it is called, when the spade is stuck in the ground, jerked forward, and, the seed being 38 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. dexterously slipped into the ground behind it, the spade is withdrawn. The little girl who had had measles and caught cold was delicate, and generally took care of the other children, swept the floor with the heather broom, washed the potatoes for dinner in her little skibb at the brook hard by, her delicate voice the while singing some Irish ballad, happy as a lark in spring- time, yet her only dress was a chemise, an apology for a petticoat, a miserable cotton dress, and no stockings, no shoes — such articles would have been extravagance, and to be seen with them would have been considered sufficient cause to raise the rent still higher. For whenever a tenant is seen to grow eonfortable, if he is a tenant-at-will, he is sure to have his rent raised, to satisfy the greedy maw of a landlord. Therefore, in constant fear and anxiety, he watches the rising and setting of the sun, the coming and going of the agent and driver — or rent warner as this official is often called — to which class belonged this fellow Licky, and I must add, speaking from personal knowledge, a more heartless, unprincipled set of rascals a tenant would not wish to come in con- tact with. Of course there are exceptious ; many who read this book, either upon this or the other side of the Atlantic, will soon have a specimen of this class conjured up before his mind's eye. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 39 A private soldier will often declare that he would as soon have the Devil his adjutant as one of his own comrades promoted to that rank ; so with the Irish tenant, either peasant or gentleman farmer : there is an obtrusive officiousness, a disgusting pretension to possessing influence with landlord and agent, often with a view to exacting a retainer — if the lawyers will pardon the use of the word, but the words exacting retainer suit better than to use the word refresher. A hint, a mysterious nod or look to alarm poor Flanagan as to the possibility of higher rent being imposed, or, more terrible still, eviction, was always sure to bring about the result desired, after the following manner : " Begor, Mr. Licky, I al- ways felt sartin you wor my friend (the title of mist- her bestowed upon a fellow of his class always beto- kened obsequiousness and fear) won't you thry a drop of the crayther anyhow, its the foinest I tashted for many a day," and a large bottle was produced simultaneous with the praises of the crayther, as whiskey or potheen is often called in Ireland. The latter is what the result of illegal distillation is known by. The work often being carried un under ground upon the edge of some of the bogs, and so carefully would the excavation be made, and everything that would arouse suspicions removed or obliterated, that 40 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. again and again have the excise officials passed over such places without the slightest suspicion of their close proximity to the prize. But many strolling beggars knew the place, and got regaled and kept mum ; yet such was not always the case. But woe betide the informer, if discovered, no one had pity for him or her, and very justly, for if the transgres- sor of the law gets punished with a cat-o-nine-tails the vile informer should be treated to a cat-o-ten- tails. This has always been the great curse of poor Ireland, and it makes one's blood boil to hear that common saying, so often flung in our faces — and what adds to the sting is the consciousness of the fact — " that put one Irishman on the spit and you will find another to turn him." I must beg the reader's pardon for this digression. Licky was soon made look pleasant by the present of a bottle of the stuff in his pocket. The American or Canadian reader may say, but why need Flanagan stand such treatment, or any other man of his class, but go somewhere else. Those who would say so know but little about Ire- land and the Irish. Go, where ? I ask, out on the high road, to play the beggar from door to door ? no, the poorest laborer disdains to ask a crust of bread ; though poor, it may be, yet his soul revolts at the Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 41 idea, — a noble and pardonable pride prevent him. Once out of a home in Ireland it is not an easy matter always to find another, consequently the poor farmer or laborer will often endure much wrong and imposition ere he will dare to grumble or run the risk of being turned adrift on the highway, with wife and children, exposed to the damp, penetrating atmosphere of the country. I have often thought that Eussian serfdom was little, if any, worse than the condition of the Irish peasant or small farmer. I appeal to the reader, how would you like to see your crops all destroyed year after year by the multitude of game kept for the pleasure of one thoughtless and supremely selfish wretch, for which you received no credit nor consideration ; and of that multitude of animals which destroyed the bread fo the family or the means of paying the rent of four or five acres for the benefit derived from one, you dare not kill one if you or one of your family were starving, but for an animal not worth one shilling you were drag- ged before a magistrate of the same type as the landlord mentioned, who read you a pompous mock- morality sermon upon the gravity of your crime, in addition to which you were fined, or sent to the common jail, and: perhaps reminded, by way of arousing your gratitude, that it was fortunate for you D 42 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. you were not living in other times when it was a hanging matter to kill a rabbit. So, from time, to time, this was the picture, the every-day occurrence throughout Ireland, that such things were not wondered at, and poor Pat was reconciled to his slavery and semi-starvation, an illustration of the common saying — a standing joke — .like the Irishman accustomed to hanging, you don't mind it. He felt in his subdued humility that such luxuries as a hare, rabbit, partridge, grouse, snipe or woodcock were not for the loikes of him, but the ginthry. You had to get a license to fish, a license to shoot, a license to keep a gun, a license to hunt or keep even a hunting-dog, aye even a wife — not only do I mean a marriage license to satisfy the laws of the land, but your landlord or his wife had to be ap- proached and the matter of your son or daughter's intended marriage laid before them, and their con- sent and approval asked — and, as I have already informed the reader, a license had to be obtained to worship their God according to their conscience and their creed, and all this iron rule emanating from Protestant England, bah ! who boasted of setting free the slaves of her West Indian possessions at a cost of some twenty millions sterling, and yet less Scenes end Incidents in Irish Life. 43 expense, debate and commotion would have secured the love and devotion undying of a nobler race, far nearer to the throne, if not to the heart of Britain. Had she only remembered the old adage, " charity begins at home," as well as chastisement, her Irish children would have risen up and called her blessed. But, alas, to-day it is far otherwise. But some will say it is because of religion ; that it is only the Eoman Catholics who are plotting rebellion all the time, through a religious animosity. That may be true in some instances. But, what if it is, what wonder if Protestant Mohammedanism was loathed and despised by the pious, high-spirited Irish Eoman Catholic, when he saw the Bible and sword merge into one. It will be found, however, that many of the prominent leaders in Irish revolts and rebellion were Protestants. Nor were they the dregs of the people, as some would have the world to believe, but educated, enthusiastic patriots. Lacking cool judgment and patience, a deepen knowledge of human nature, the steam of their ardour enveloping them in a mist, they sadly miscalculated or misinterpreted the doctrine of cause and effect, and thereby sadly injured the cause — produced no effect, or an evil one. The highest- tempered steel will snap soonest if over bent, 41 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. therefore the Celtic spirit of the sons of Erin will never submit to cold iron rule or misrule of an autocratic English minister. Gladstone in the present day is playing some- what a similar role to that of Cromwell in his day, when religious factions and fanatics struggled and fought for the ascendancy, ever ready to sacrifice anything upon their filthy altars, if there- by they could accomplish their unholy desires. Of this state of things Cromwell took advantage, and being, a low, coarse fellow and void of principle or feeling, favored one or other party as occasion required. Presbyterian and Independents were his two dogs, which he fed or flogged in turn, regardless of religion or the cause of Christ, but regardful of his own vanity and villainy. But, con- sidering all things, there may be some excuse for the conduct of Cromwell, when we take into considera- tion the religious and political state of the country, and the utter confusion and disorder that reigned supreme. The Protestant picture of the times is a disgrace to humajiity, not to say Christianity ; and the crown and realm or constitution of England has more cause to fear her Protestant subjects than Roman Catholics. To depopulate Ireland and to scatter her once Scene* and Incidents in Irish Life. 45 happy children among the nations of the earth may appear a grand aim and wise, and as worthy of a great statesman, and as being the only way to put an end to a troublesome people, and break their power. But to this I would say, let no patriot ever advocate such a movement. If a surplus popula- tion will remove and seek their fortunes in other lands, well ; but a home guard must keep the forts and citadel by hook or crook. The dear old homes must be kept in order, the fires kept burning on the dear old hearths, around which we all assembled as children, boys and girls, to hear the fairy tales and ghost stories when the day's work was over, or dance and sing with harmless innocence, and glad to see the jovial face of the wandering bard, fiddler or piper, who, enjoying the hospitality gladly accorded him as a most welcome friend, gave in return the lively strains of jig, reel or hornpipe, and anon the sweet and touching note of some well-known popular air, which at once secured an attentive audience and elicited the well-known words of approval or ap- plause, " Bravo, Billy, more power to you, that is a grand air!" May I not be pardoned if I ejaculate, that I could see the same once again, and taste the sweets of such innocent rural enjoyment. Awake my countrymen and women, forget not the dear old 46 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. homes. - Perish the hand that would sever the ties that bind us to the graves of our forefathers, the homes that they reared and loved, and around which lingers yet the echo of their voices in song and laughter ; yea, perish crown, throne or constitution rather than that the sacred hearths and homes of our childhood should he invaded by strangers and dese- crated by the tread of the adventurer. It is no favor, nor kindness, nor considerate regard, nor act of humane liberality that would make Britain place her ships at the disposal of the " poor, half-starved Irish to convey them to some foreign' shore " to get rid of them, that their homes might be given to strangers, the owl or the bat, rather than to them. Such an act is only to sow the seeds of hatred, to spring up an hundred fold, to multiply the instruments of revenge and death, upon a foreign soil, in the birth of every Irish son and daughter, who shall be told at their mother's knee of the wrongs and injuries endured at the hands of the British Government. History will be raked up to prove that such has been the policy of England in the past, when her ships cast anchor in the mouth of the river Gaspereau in Acadia, now Nova Scotia, in the last century, when the simple-minded Acadian farmer, priests and people, were hustled into those vessels Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 47 like cattle and scattered along the coast. Colonel Winslow having assembled those simple people in their accustomed place of worship, read to them for the first time, the king's orders, to break up their community and happy homes, and scatter them to the four winds of Heaven, may I add, because they were not Englishmen and women and Protestants, and, not unlike the Irish, had no great love for British rule, and were faithful to their friends. He added thus, it is peremptorily His Majesty's orders that all of the inhabitants of this colony be removed, and, moreover, through His Majesty's goodness (sic) you are at liberty to carry off any money you may possess (and it must have been little they did pos- sess) and household goods, without discommoding the ships, and piously adding, as if to add insult to injury : u in whatsoever part of the world you may fall I trust you may be faithful subjects a peaceful and happy people." But, to add further to the cruelty of the whole thing : the poor people were in total ignorance of the doom which awaited them until they had gathered in their harvest, which was all confiscated, and appropriated by the British. From the decks of the vessels, And from the woods, where some had fled, those poor people witnessed their once happy homes in flames. I need not 48 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. dwell further upon the harrowing scenes thus depicted in the pages of history. I only introduce what I have, to show that Ireland's people would not have been the first to fare thus, nor would it be a new policy inaugurated by England to do so now. Had the natures and dispositions of the Irish been studied, and their undying and intense love of home and the land of their birth been considered, together with their affectionate impulses and enthusiastic ratures, England could have bound them to her throne, and secured the affection and devotion of a noble people. But her policy has had a contrary tendency and effect, and I fear that it has been " opportunity lost never to be recalled. " Eoman Catholics have been insulted and abused to please a base Protestant Christianity, and, in turn, the Irish church has been robbed ruthlessly and basely to please Eoman Catholics, and Trinity College, Dublin, has been thrown open to schismatic sectarians, and the result is that all unite, save a minority, to detest and despise the power that could act with such duplicity and injustice — and here a pertinent question is suggested : if it was only justice to fleece and deprive the church of Ireland of endowments given her out of the spoils of an oppressed and plundered people, why not do likewise Seenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 40 to the landlords, whose forefathers grasped with cruel greed the possessions of the proscribed Irish patriots. To show the truth of what I have already asserted, that Irish Eoman Catholics are not and were not all that they have been accused of being, I assert, without fear of contradiction, that no English Pro- testants would have submitted to such a tax as tithe, to support Eoman Catholicism, as the Eoman Catholics have done for many a year, and with the most wonderful patience, while compelled to support the National church, upon which they looked as an institution of a detested British Government. They had, moreover, to support and maintain their own church and clergy, to which they were deeply devoted and warmly attached ; nevertheless, though I have lived in the midst of a Eoman Catholic popu- lation for years, even in the famous county of Tipperary, where I was born and lived to the years of manhood, I never knew of an instance of a reli- gious quarrel, or strife or j alousy, either on the part of laity or clergy, but on the contrary, the most perfect harmony. Such cannot be said of the popula- tion of Ulster, where the Protestant population pre- ponderate, where Orangeism flaunts its insulting colors and paraphernalia in the faces of their Eoman Catholic 50 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. brethren, and persist in a course at once uncatholic and unchristian. This I take to prove to a demon- stration, that the Roman Catholic of the sacred isle is as peaceable and good a subject of the British Crown as any Protestant, nor would that be saying much for them, but, on the contrary, very little, I shall illustrate what I have said by narrating some incidents of which I am personally cognizant, the recital of which makes my heart and soul glow within me, and sigh for " the days that are gone," " And the friends of old And the scenes round the old, old home, When the sunlight shone On meadow and wold And our hearts were not given to roam.'» Before the time of the famine in Ireland, when the black or blight struck the potato — the then staple article of food with both middle and laboring classes, and a delightful vegetable the Irish lumper was, white, sweet and mealy — if you walked into any farmer's house about dinner-time, a coarse clean cloth was seen upon the table, the maid having strained off the water from the pot of potatoes, some member of the family held up the corners of the cloth to prevent the potatoes rolling off on the floor, plates or dishes being considered superfluous for them; knives were then laid around for each person. In Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 51 the middle of the table a large plate of butter was set, and from which each one helped him or herself, bit by bit, as it was placed upon the potatoe, to be bitten off, or, if the potatoe was a small one, to be bolted at one mouthful, some peeling the potato with their thumb-nails in preference to using the knife. A wooden noggin of butter-milk was also set beside each person. This wooden noggin was in fact a miniature bucket, with one stave protruding some four or five inches, or continued beyond the rest, for a handle, only that it was usually turned out of a block — not a very convenient vessel to sup out of, I must confess ; but before delf mugs, with handles on the side, were introduced, no one found fault ; they were always well and thoroughly cleansed in scalding water, dried, and set upon the dresser, mouth downwards, all gracefully at the slope, as the soldier would say, on account of the one leg. The pewter plates and dishes shone brightly above them, arranged in echelon and with some ostentation, on the part of the house wife. They were only used when there w T as a herring for each, or on state days and holidays when the luxury of bacon and cabbage, goose and turkey, or " staggering bob " (a name given to young or unfed veal), were on the bill of fare. Often have I known salt and sour 52 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, buttermilk, as the only variety or sauce to induce the palate to perform its duty. And still never a grumble escaped the lips of this hard-working honest people, if only the rent could be met on gale day. The day's work over, and all gathered around the roaring turf fire, over which hung the pot of potatoes for supper. In the meantime the fiddle, flute, or Irish-pipes struck up a lilt, which at once dispelled all feeling of weariness, and in answer to the pressing call of the happy group, some light-hearted son of the soil was in an instant on the floor with his fair and bashful partner, nimbly footing a soul-stirring Irish jig or reel, taking hands and changing places' as the impulse took them, and apparently forgetful and unmindful of all the cares of life. Poor Goldsmith's soul felt all the delights of such, and under the heat of inspiration imparted the witching charm to stir the soul of others, and after his simple and unsophisticated mind had ceased to work and his honest heart had ceased to pulsate, he would, from the silence of his tomb, tell us in sweetest language of the Eden days of Erin, " How often have I blest the coming day, When toil remitting lent its turn to play. * ' *■ *• * * # # The dancing pair that simply sought renown By holding out to tire each other down. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 53 These were thy charms sweet village ! sports like these, With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please ; These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed These were thy charms — but all these charms are fled. ******* Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, And desolation saddens all the green ; One only master grasps the whole domain,* And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain. ******* And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand, Far, far away thy children leave the land. Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates and men decay. Princes and lords may flourish or may fade, A breath can make them as a breath has made ; But a bold peasantry, a country's pride, When once destroyed can never be supplied. These were prophetic words, and have in their sweetness a most melancholy and funereal sound, which saddens the soul, and, still more so, w r hen we realize the fact, that it is not the poet's imaginary- picture of what may come to pass, but, alas, only the too faithful picture of what has come to pass. The blight having struck the potatoe, at once a sad change takes place : the people, compelled to live from hand to mouth, chiefly through oppression and the avariciousness of the landlord, were unable to bear the loss for a day, and grim famine and death stared them in the face, and stalked through the land with all their attendant horrors. Some few of the 54 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. genuine Irish landlords remained in the midst of their tenantry, and with their families ministered to the wants of the poor suffering people ; but the English adventurer, barred up the windows and doors, and, leaving a servant to take care of the back kitchen, betook himself to a more genial soil, and left his less fortunate fellow-creatures to struggle as they might for dear life. I was then a mere boy, but I well remember the old schoolmaster — " A man severe lie was, and stern to view, I knew him well and every truant knew ; " clad in blue cloth, swallow-tailed coat with brass repealer buttons ornamenting it, corduroy knee- breeches and long yellowish- white woollen stockings and greased pumps or brogues, made after the fashion of the times — straight, no right or left, to avoid con- fusion in the dark or in haste. His old high-crowned hat (stove-pipe as they call them in Canada) hung on the wall beside a tin gallon or two. His old partner sat in the chimney-corner by the fire, which was kept burning by each boy carrying a sod of turf or two under his arm every morning to school. I was always spared that by my father sending a load or two of turf now and again, which was carefully piled up in the turf corner, beside the fireplace, and Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 55 over which was the hen- roost ; — the hens never less- ened the turf anything to speak of. What always chilled my blood and struck terror to my heart was a boy being flogged, or, as it was euphoniously styled, hoisted. That is, the unfortu- nate truant or incorrigible was ordered to stand out, unbutton the rear part of his corduroys, a larger boy took him on his back, holding him by the hands, sometimes a most painful office to fill, as some of the more hardened ones generally held a pin between his teeth and which he plunged into the back of the neck of the boy holding him, who roared out, and often let go the culprit, or sometimes the latter let fly his heels for the master's nose, once carrying away his pipe, causing the enraged master to exclaim : u w, blud-an-ouns, my foin, briar-shanked pipe, that I bought at the last fair of Banagher, and paid four- pence for it, you onmannerly blaggard, I'll flail you." The scourge usually used was a number of small osiers bound together. The son of the old schoolmaster alluded to, was to me like Sinbad the Sailor's old man of the woods, a hun- gry, long, lank-looking chap, with his arms too long for the sleeves of his old corduroy jacket, and his two legs, in the same superfluous predicament, looked painfully strained, his bare feet looking of a hue be- 56 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. tween black and red, from being forced downwards, like a bad performer standing upon his head. But to tell the truth it was whispered, that his nether garments were a small knee-breeches which was given to him as a matter of necessity, which, while being the mother of invention, proved in time of need a mother to him, and had to know a law for once, even that of decency. I always brought my lunch in my satchel, and a plentiful one, put up by my poor mother. Knowing there was bread enough in my father's house and to spare — though not so with regard to potatoes — he always bargained with me for my lunch — some- times a week in advance — for a fishhook or two or someting of the sort. As it came to the noontide hour? whether he went by the position of the sun astrono- mically or the condition of the son gastronomically I never asked, though I guessed, he always threw me the sign Cancer as he passed through the door to the back of the old house, where he always pretended to keep his accounts scratched upon a stone. As I produced the contents of my satchel his fingers crawled all over it, as he clutched it, but it was truly surprising how the ammunition went down his long barrel without ramrod or other visible contri- vance. Sometimes I was somewhat perplexed to find Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 57 my indebtedness continue and my daily fast pro- tracted ; he never seemed to grow weary. I did. He would talk grammatical riddles to me, having first instructed me in the elements of his grammar, his favorite sentence was bread don't forget, forgot, got-for; "do you understand your grammar, your tense, say it," I was provoked, but afraid, so I made up to say : " I can tell you something I have learned or thought-Bread a noun singular," and I emphasized the latter ; " say adjective," he roared; u yes" said I, " from ad to and jecto, I cast, and present forget, past forgot, future for-gut." " Give me back what I gave you," he shouted. " And what about what I gave you ? " said I. I was almost free; he changed his tone to hold me. So I fed him for a time longer, until my poor father found it out, and gave me instructions, which I communicated to him, and so got released from the jaws of hunger if not of death, but the poor wretch was missing one morning, when we found he had been sent off to a distance and got into the poor house, as the old couple were unable to feed him. To show still further the state of the country at this time : — the potatoes had just been dug, such as they were, the crop being a total loss with some. The Roman Catholic priest, Father Matt, as we called him, was our next-door neighbor, he happened E 58 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. to be fortunate enough to possess a few stone of potatoes, but to put them in a pit known to every- body, as usual, was out of the question, as the posi- tion of parish priest would not protect him from being robbed, when a potatoe famine and worse was in the land, so after dark he went to the garden, accompanied by his niece, dug a trench, and put the potatoes into it, and covered them level with the surface, and retired to his house, feeling satisfied that his few potatoes were safe. But, lo ! in the morning he was at our door in the greatest state of excitement, to tell my father and mother, that some base wretch had found out the hiding-place of his few potatoes, and had carried them clean away. For some time after this we had not had a potatoe for dinner. It was bread and meat and vegetables ; and vegetables and meat and bread, of which one soon grew tired. My poor mother seemed to feel the loss of the potatoes more than any of the rest of us. One day, however. Father Matt presented himself at the door with six nice potatoes on a plate, to present to my mother, a most acceptable present it was. The truth was the good-natured priest had been sent a present of a dozen, and, knowing the great desire of my poor mother for a potatoe, shared Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 59 one half with her, saying that half a loaf was better than no bread. As may be imagined farmers and laborers were in a great strait to live. The Government started some public works to employ the needy, but the truth is, that a certain favored few who had influence, were made overseers, and, while getting the carcase to divide to the poor, gave out the head and tail, hoofs and tripe, but appropriated the principal parts them- selves. The Indian meal distributed kept many from starving, it is true, but not from swearing. They seemed to loathe it so much, but I have found since that this to a great extent was due to their total ignorance of the different ways of using and cooking it. But ever since the time alluded to, every Irish- man, in Ireland, at all events, to the beggar upon the high road, detests the sight as well as the sound of Indian meal. Had the English Government invested the money, which was spent or rather thrown away upon public works and Indian meal, peelers and prosecutions, in the purchase of vast estates which were in the landed estates courts, and scarcely commanding a purchaser, and become the landlord of the people, at a low rent, which would have produced a high 60 Sceries and Incidents in Irish Life. percentage of profit for the money invested, or en- couraged and aided the people to purchase their own holdings, the loyalty and devotion of the Irish would have been a certainty, as also their prosperity. Incipient rebellions would no longer find favor or encouragement. For a contented and prosperous people, with a deep interest in the soil, through security of tenure, proceeding from the throne, will not hastily overthrow or destroy that which is their strength or source of peace and prosperity. But England, blind and bigoted, suffered the very cream of her Irish subjects to seek their fortunes in other climes, who, with the smallest encouragement or assistance, would have remained in the homes that they loved. But they poured into another country, where a Government waited with open arms to receive them, and which they, in turn, helped to build up, and enrich, but to menace England's decaying prestige and possessions with the very arms and hearts of her own children, estranged by indifference and lack of foresight. The bloated, puffed-up figures of a few vain nobles or titled ones, with their horses and dogs ; crowded out of view the hearts and hands, the bone and sinew of the country ; its peasantry, whose de- Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 61 parting wails and farewells of sorrow were smothered, by the vaunting high-sounding tones of indifference which lulled to sleep and closed the ears of those in power, or rather in weakness, and the eyes that should have looked, and the ears that should have heard, and rendered judgment and justice, and seen that every servant in the great household of the state was cared for, relegated the power to others, in- terested and selfish, who strengthened themselves by weakening the state, and enriched themselves by impoverishing the country. Until we find a man stand forth in the midst of his vast estates, and hear his own voice, in the silence and solitude of desolation, say : I am monarch of all I survey, but, more truly still, I am lord of the fowl and the brute. When an enemy comes thundering some day at the gates of Windsor or Balmoral will England recruit for her army and navy in the United States or even Canada. No. Emigration does not make the Irish exile more pliable, simple-minded, and depen- dent and willing to accept a paltry shilling a day for the honor of wearing Her Majesty's uniform, or fighting the battles of England. Far, very far other- wise, notwithstanding the complimentary addresses presented to a Governor General or any other notable. 62 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. The truth of what I have just said I would illus- trate from another source, but parallel. In Canada where the French population have many traits of character in common with the Irish, the hab- itants are naturally simple-minded, hardworking but happy. They will assemble together and dance and sing and laugh boisterously. Most attentive and regular in their religious duties, obedient to their priests. But, once across the lines, amongst the more independent, wide-awake American, they return changed beings, and with very changed views and feelings. The Roman Catholic church realizes all this, and when her influence is felt in the Provincial Legislature of the Province of Quebec we hear of the grand scheme of repatriation being encouraged, and propositions for appropriations to promote that end urged. 0, that the wisdom of England had*culminated in a repatriation movement in the halls of her Legisla- ture half a century ago. Her position to-day would be more undoubted in the affections of her people and politically. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 63 CHAPTER III. Rural Scenes and Incidents. ^Wp|BOUT eighty years ago, upon a November eve, or All-souls, a happy domestic scene might have been witnessed in an old mansion in a part of the County of Gal way, Gurteen Lodge. The house was one of that class frequently to be met with throughout the country : the stones dark with age, great, high, massive chimneys rising up amongst the surrounding trees, and the blue smoke that curled upwards, told a tale of existing peace and pleasure in connection with warm hearths and hearts, irradiating this truly Irish home. O how much is in this word, home, to the reflecting mind ; But what pen can portray the thoughts that sweep through the soul of the exile whose reflective mind unceasingly conjures up scenes for ever fled. home, sweet home, on Erin's soil, intoxicate this soul with thy memories : Tho' far from thy shores for many long years My feet have a stranger's* soil prest, Still thy memory comes with a gush of fond tears, Sweet home of my youth in the west, 64 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, The genuine Irish son or daughter will pardon digressions. Like as a child sent on an errand on a summer's day turns aside from time to time to chase a tempting butterfly or pluck a smiling flower and resume its journey, so will the author to the end of the book, which is written, not for the eye of the liter- ary critic, but to cheer and enable the soul of an Irish brother or sister to revel in the midst of the gushing memories of happy times. The old spreading trees surrounding the build- ing were beech, ash and elm, and truly venerable in appearance they were. The laurel and quick-set hedges that branched off right and left from the lawn gate lent a charm to the whole scene not soon to be forgotten. From the avenue gate a great double row of horse chestnuts spanned the way until you reached a grove of great high trees, from the tops of which a deafening- chorus of crows was vigorously kept up, like the continuous roar of a waterfall ; the jack-daws holding their own on a smaller scale about the buildings in the ivy or chimneys. The wind roared in fitful gusts through the trees, as if it would tear up those old monarchs of the park by the roots ; but many a battle of the same sort they stood before, and now, like proud, stubborn and trusty sentinels, refused to Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 65 quit the honorable post of guarding the way to the old manor, but used the tempest to wave their majestic plumes, and salute with a roar the beloved members of the family and their guests, peer or peasan t Great dark clouds scudded athwart the sky, like mighty monsters multiform, rushing headlong. The partridge uttered her hoarse call to her companions, scattered through the day by the sportsmen, whose well-filled game-bags suggested the idea that many a poor bird had called or respon- ded to the last roll-call the previous evening. The shrill and lonely call of the peewit or green- plover as it swept across the moor with a whirr, seemed to heighten the loneliness and wildness of the place and night, while at the same time it added an indescribable charm to the whole, calling to mind the legend in connection with the peewit, as having been introduced into the country by the invading Danes, as a sentinel about their camps, an invalu- able and trusty one, and never found napping, but, upon the approach of the most stealthy, uttered its piercing shrill cry, pee-e-e-wit. The close proximity of the remains of a Danish fort still further heightened the imagination of the romantic one, together with the current stories of a superstitious, simple-minded people. 66 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. It was believed that the bones of many a savage Dane and Christian soldier of our Celtic forefathers, lay mingled together beneath the soil, whereon they fell, when struggling for the mastery, nine centuries ago — the latter fighting for his religion, hearth and home, under the glorious banner of the Cross, the former for plunder and against the Cross. Indeed it was a current belief that at certain times still might be heard the clashing of swords and rattling of armor, as the otherwise silent but fierce contest was waged over again, whilst a fiery cross might be seen moving to and fro, to encourage the Christian spirits, but to discourage and terrify the Christian body possessing too much or too little spirits, and undoubtedlly too lively an imagination for the hour and the place. Not far off, on the opposite side of the avenue, and hidden amongst the trees, stood the remains of an old abbey, thickly covered with ivy. This was inhabited by a couple of owls and many bats. A few old tombstones lay half hidden beneath the long grass, weeds and bushes, which no one would cut. The remains of an old square tomb was traceable under the old chancel window, which was almost quite hidden by the thick foliage of the ivy. It was the current tradition that this tomb contained Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 67 the ashes of a priest who, while celebrating mass, was surprised by the Danes, as also his congregation, and murdered with many others. Their crime being aggravated by the trampling underfoot the crucifix, which no doubt they thought was a god like their own. However, in consequence of which act of profanation the impious foe rest not, but hear the priest and Christian dead chanting mass to God, which but adds to their own chagrin and torments, and so must continue to the day of judgment. Near to this tomb was a horizontal tombstone, but broken across the middle, with a rude figure of an angel at the top, and immediately beneath it the following lines, nearly effaced by the hand of Time. They ran thus : — Here lies the body of Mary Crane, Of lords, dukes and earls she came, Yet begged her bread from door to door, And ne'er in vain did she implore. Now o'er her ashes lightly tread, And kneel and'say — God rest the dead ! It was said that such a person was remembered by some of the oldest inhabitants, that she was of noble family, an old maid, received her daily bread at the hands of the poor, and slept by their firesides, a welcome guest, and held in reverence; and when she died a subscription was taken up at the chapel after 68 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. mass to bury her decently under a tombstone, as mentioned. These were the immediate surroundings or not distant outposts, of the venerable old man- sion. The noisy occupants of the old rookery, which stretched away to rear of the dwelling are at length at rest, swaying to and fro — if such we can call rest — but, like the mariner on the bosom of the mighty deep, to which he is accustomed, falls peacefully to sleep, like a child in its cradle rocked by its mother. The noisy and conceited Jack-daw is also silent in the old chimney-top. Even the dogs shrink from the wild scene without, and, shivering, skulk away and curl themselves up in their kennels and forget to watch. With every roar of the wind through the naked trees the multitude of dry leaves rush like a flying, defeated host before the roar and impetuous dash of an irresistible and victorious foe, until, whirl- ing into by-ways and pathways, they rested with a shivering murmur of relief. Once the sighing zephyr kissed us, When our Hps were sweet with dew, Now, with harshest roar, dismissed us, For we're withered, — Life adieu. The scene within the old home is in striking contrast to that without. A bright roaring turf Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 69 fire in the grate is the centre of attraction, and a con- centration of toes, snugly slippered, form a semi- circle around it, whilst now and again a howling last shook the casements, as if trying to force anb entry, causing the old halls and crevices to resound, as if hurling back defiance at the attacking blast, which died away in the distance, with a hollow roar. The master of the mansion who sat reading by the light of two mould candles, paused to say : " Eleanor, my dear, put on a piece of deal. It is a howling night." Just then another roaring blast seemed to rock the house to its very foundation. The lady of the house who was knitting, dropped her hands in her lap, and with a sigh remarked, " God help those at sea to-night," " And the poor without fuel/' remarked Eleanor as she dropped the piece of deal on the fire, wiiich blazed up, enlivening the whole picture. The master of the house was a person of about sixty, calm deportment and happy expression of counte- nance, indicative of a kind heart as husband, father landlord and magistrate ; apparently a gentleman not much troubled about the rise and fall of stocks in the money market. His tenants adored him, his servants and laborers loved and served him willingly. 70 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. No cruelty nor wrong emanated from his heart or home. His partner, a few years his junior, of delicate build, but sweet sympathetic face, looked so thought- ful that one could see at a glance that she was thinking of those less favored than herself with the comforts of home and life, and she cast her looks towards the large window as each gust of wind with smothered roar pressed against it as if she expected to see the storm monster enter, or to hear some im- ploring voice from without begging for shelter, and a share of her happy fireside. But, as if disappointed of the longed-for pleasure, she sighed and resumed her work. The young lady alluded to as Eleanor was a girl of about eighteen, she sat between the old couple, engaged in making some article of dress for some poor families in the neighborhood. She had the eyes, face and Uuild of her mother ; she was called by the servants and poor, amongst whom she continually went, Miss Mary, as they said it sounded sweeter than the other — as her name was Mary Eleanor. On the other side of her father sat her sister Lucy, occupied at some fancy work ; she had a laughing face and eye and cheerful voice. " How mamma Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 71 sighs," she remarked, " as if she knew some one was clinging to a wreck a mile off the coast, or as if poor old Mickey Good was up to his neck in a bog-hole, while running after his hat with the piece of bacon in it." At this remark all had to laugh, for it recalled an incident of a few nights before. Old Mickey Good ? one of the laboring hands, and a somewhat privileged one — having a good deal of dry humor — was given a piece of bacon on Saturday night. He put it in his hat, an old beaver, high-crowned, a very common thing to do. As he was walking across a piece of bog, a bag on his back and a stick in his hand, the grease began to melt, and, as it coursed down his face, and he had forgotten the meat, thought it was perspiration, drew the back of his hand across his forehead, and disturbed his hat, which rolled off down a slope, with the help of the wind, when it just occurred to him that the precious bit of bacon for his Sunday's dinner was in it. He made a dash after it, stooping two or three times to pick it up, kicked it with his foot, started it afresh when, just as it was at the edge of a bog-hole, he made a desperate charge, caught it, but, losing his balance, had to make a jump, landing into the middle of a blind bog-hole up to his armpits. At the same time he managed to hold on to his hat with 72 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. the bacon in it, but which he was compelled to throw out on the bank, while he struggled to extricate himself from his unfortunate position. But a neigh- bor just then coming along gave him a hand. In the meantime the neighbor's dog smelling about, found the meat in the hat, and made off with it. " Hih ! hi-i-i, me mate, me bacon. Dhrop that, an' the divil cure you, what a tashte ye have for bacon." " What's that," says Flannery, who had pulled Mickej^ out of the boghole. " The dog, the divil, has taken me bacon, said Mickey. " Hello, Caezar, dhrop that," said Flan- nery. " The divil saize him and never let go av him," said poor Good, ow-wow the clothes are sthick- ing to me like the divil. What a tashte he has for bacon, — and a raal ould piece it was too, and the divil' s luck to him, — I smell it yit, for I got it from Miss Mary — the darlint." So well he might smell it, for the grease was all over his face, and around his nose, in dark streaks and clouds. Not having been far from the Hall he turned back and entering the kitchen presented the most comical and ludicrous picture, which was still further enhanced by the serio-comic expression of Mickey's face, as he stood, his hat under his arm, and he trying to relate his adven- ture, word for word, including his anathemas Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 73 upon the unfortunate Caezar, and begging Miss Lucy's pardon, who happened just at the moment to be in the kitchen, and was fairly convulsed with laughter^ which soon brought the rest of the family on the spot, each of whom laughed heartily at the figure poor Mickey cut. Every word and movement only elicited fresh bursts of merriment, Mickey taking" occasional sly looks at some of the servants who were in fits looking at him. " Holy Mary forgive me for all I cursed this night on his account, saving your presence Miss Lucy, and the dickens fly away with him." He was soon fitted into a good cast-off suit of the ould masther's, and another piece of bacon, and went on his way rejoicing more than before, none the worse, but all the better for his adventure, as also the whole family, who had enjoyed a hearty whole- some laugh at poor Mickey's expense, as well as their own. This is what Miss Lucy alluded to to dispel the ghosts of the storm. " The sun/' she continued, " is now shining upon many a gay crowd and ripening some delicious fruit perhaps for us, and elsewhere the moon is looking down upon a placid scene, and inspiring some love-sick swain, with guitar accompaniment F 74 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. to win the heart of his lady love and charming the nightingale into silence." " Bacon and bog-hole, guitar and music, love and moonshine, what a mixture ! " said Mary Eleanor, and what a night for sentimental effusions and pictures. Between mamma and Lucy," said she, "we get the * chiaro-oscuro, which is refreshing." The two girls bursting into a chorus of laughter, whilst the old couple smiled, and papa looked over his glasses at his smiling partner. " Is it not time to call to Kate to get tea," said Eleanor, " a cup of which will remind us of sunn y climes, mind and mouth co-operating." There were two more members of this domestic circle, but they were absent, doubtless in the midst of far more hilarious, but far less healthy scenes, — one was captain in the Lancers and the other lieutenant of Hussars. The captain was heir to the estate upon the death of his father — it being hereditary ; the other was to receive a liberal portion, and each daughter her own upon coming of age . or at marriage. No one would have thought that the following day would witness a number of tenants arriving to pay their rent, so little did the matter seem to * Lights and shades in painting. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 75 possess the minds of the household or cause any anxiety. Tea over, and the table cleared, plates of apples and nuts were set on, when Eleanor remarked to her mother : " 1 have just been thinking of those poor children and their mother over the road, how sad they must feel and lonely ; I think I will run over with a few apples and nuts for them, because of the night." " Because of the night you should not go, my dear," said her mother. 11 Send John over," said her father, " there is too great a storm." " It won't blow me away, papa, I will take Kate with me, and I want to see how some things I have made will suit the children." She immediately set about filling her little basket, threw a shawl over her head, country-girl style, called Kate, and started out. It was only a short distance from the avenue gate to the cabin of the Widow Kennedy, whose husband had died a short time before, his death having been accelerated, if not caused, by the cruelty of the agent of an adjoining estate, the landlord of which spent most of his time in England and on the continent. Although he had been born in Ireland his parents had been English ; he looked with con- 76 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. tempt upon the Irish, said they knew nothing about farming — no more than pigs. His agent was a young man named Gravy, whose father was agent for another estate in an adjoining county, and had been fired at several times, being universally hated. Like father like son, says the old adage. Poor Kennedy was ill with fever, and had been served with notice to quit. Not that he did not pay his rent, but that an English tenant who had rented land surrounding at the same rate desired poor Kennedy's holding, on which his family had lived for some eighty or ninety years past, honest and hard- working. The day of eviction came ; poor Kennedy was very ill. The doctor had been to visit him, and went and represented Kennedy's state to GraVy, who said he was only scheming, and could not be pestered with every fellow or old woman who wished to plead sickness. The ufrder-agent attended with a bailiff and a caretaker or two to take possession, and also to seize sufficient to cover some small arrears if not otherwise secured. "Well, Kennedy/' said the sub-agent, entering <' we are come to take possession, what are you going to do ? " " Whatever you like, to be sure," said poor Ken- Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 77 nedy, half delirious. "Mary, asthore, get some thing ready for the boys." The poor wife wrung her hands, and implored to be allowed to remain until her husband was better. " It will kill him, it will, and what will I do, or where will I take him and the childer ? " " I am not the master," said the sub-agent "and must only do as I am told." " Shure take the house and all," said she, " put the fire out, and do all you like, only don't take poor Jim out av his bed." * But the stern necessities of the law override all the laws of humanity, and admit of no sentiment. What signifies the life of a man, or the tears and cries of widow and orphans, when compared with the inconvenience of not gettiug possession of a cabin and five acres of land upon the day appointed. "Mary, asthore, give me a mouthful of wather, I was just draming of my poor mother, God rest her soul. Am I sick ? " The different articles of furniture were being put out on the dunghill by the men, when Mary D'Arcy and her mother were just passing; they stopped to speak to the under-agent, went into the cabin, saw the sick man and his wife. Mrs. D'Arcy remained and Eleanor hurried away towards home, 78 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. to speak with her father, who sent the coachman and two men with a vehicle to bring poor Kennedy to the hall carefully, as also the wife and children. Eleanor with a couple of servants and her sister Lucy set about clearing and preparing the harness-room of the coach house, setting a fine fire blazing, and making it as comfortable as possible for the poor homeless family and sick man. Poor Kennedy was lifted out in his bed tenderly, Mrs. D'Arcy .superintending, but with tears streaming down her loving face. Poor Kennedy was lifted into the car, his poor wife holding his head in her lap, and keeping him covered. A shower of rain suddenly poured down upon poor Kennedy, wife and children without house or home, but not without friends, in word and deed and thought. The mournful little group soon arrived at the hall, and poor Kennedy and his family were soon comfortably located. The sick man had everything that money and kind hearts could procure him, but he rapidly grew worse. As he lay weak and exhausted after a long delirium and was trying to collect his thoughts he overheard a voice saying, "they pulled down poor Kennedy's house to-day." He opened his eyes and looked around as if in search of some one, and faintly uttered the name of Mary, his wife. " Mary, asthore," he faintly whispered, " come here." Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 79 " What is it, Jim, avic ; I'm here, beside you, do you want anything ? " " Only you, darlint. Have they pulled down the little home we wor married in, and that my poor father and mother wor married in afore us, and died in." <c Jim, avic, what put that into your head ? " said his poor wife, her heart bursting, as she looked into his enquiring face, holding her hand*in his. " I don't care for myself, alannah, I will soon be in a home where bailiff or landlord wont disturb me." Here a burst of grief and loud sobs, inter- rupted his words. His poor wife no longer able to control herself sobbed out : " Jim, darlint, don't kill me, and break my heart, you will soon be better," and she smoothed back his hair, as she asked 'him if he did not feel better. " I feel easier, asthore," said he, u but not bether, where are the childer, allanah ? O if I could see the ould mistress and the masther and Miss Mary and the ladies it \*ould do me good." Just then Eleanor entered with some things on a plate for poor Kennedy, and was told by the sick man's wife, what he had just said. Poor Kennedy turned his eyes towards Eleanor and whispered, " God bless her, she is too good iot this cowld world." 80 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. " Send for the priest, Mary, asthore, I'm goin. Hould me up Mary, darlint." Just then Mr. and Mrs. D'Arcy entered and spoke a few kind encouraging words. " I lave my blessing and my prayers to the masther and mistress, Miss Mary an all — God forgive my sins, as T forgive all my enemies — My poor wife and childer without a home — Kiss me Mary, asthore ; it is growing dark We'll be late \% vispers — The bell, Mary I hear it." And muttering something else he gave a few gasps and all was over; poor Mary Kennedy was a widow, with three little helpless children, and without house or hoine, brought about by cruelty and wrong, — but what cared an absent landlord ? This is not an extreme case, I have seen the sick wife and mother lifted on her bed out on the dung hill ? and the roof of the house pulled down to prevent the unfortunate evicted ones taking shelter beneath it ; yes I have witnessed the family with the sick woman, under the rafters, laid against the wall of the house, and covered with the sods of earth and old thatch, and thankful for that same. God only knows what a bitter cup the poor peasantry of Ireland have been compelled to drain to the dregs from one generation to another, and no one to pity. I very much doubt whether the negroes Scenes and Incidents in Irisli Life. 81 of the southern plantations have ever suffered much more than the poor Irish ; exclude the question of punishment by the lash, and there is no difference. The negro was commiserated, but Ireland's popula- tion was not. But to return to our narrative :— poor Mary Kennedy and her children were provided with a home by the kind-hearted family at the hall, and it was to this family Eleanor bent her steps, to cheer their hearts, and add to her own happiness, What a load of sorrow is lifted off a crushed and heavy heart by kindness and sympathy, but — " Man ? s worst enemy is man." Eleanor returned after a little, feeling more pleased than fatigued, with her visit to the home of the poor widow and orphans. The members of the domestic circle had once more resumed their places at the family board, to enjoy some of the fruits of the orchard and hazel scrub. Lucy glided over to the piano, and commenced to sing a sweet Irish ballad : sad is my heart, for my love's far away, And the primrose is gone from the lawn, The daisy alone for the sun doth delay, And first greets his glad ray at the dawn. the daisy to me hath a loving eye, For it blooms when all others are gone, And tho* many a cloud doth darken the sky, It still hopes and it waits for the sun, J 82 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. bear ye the tidings, ye zephyrs of spring, To the ears of the sun of my day, And say, when the cuckoo is far on the wing I am waiting his mellowing ray. There was a pathos in both the words and music which all felt, and a pause for a few seconds ensued, when Mr. D'Arey said, " Lucy, dear, sing that again." u Yes, papa," she replied, " if you wish, but Eleanor sings it better than I do, she throws more feeling into it. Come, Miss Mary," said Lucy play- fully, " come sing this for papa, and I will play for you, if you prefer it." Eleanor quietly glided to the side of her sister and in the most mellow and touching tones sang the song. But she had more of an audience than she was aware of, for, just as she finished, the parlor door opened, most unceremoniously, and a visitor stalked into the room with a most roguish twinkle, causing a general rush and exclamations of surprise and delight. It was the lieutenant of Hussars, who exclaimed, " well done, Miss Mary, the base music is outside — I don't mean my friend here at my heels, Lieutenant Clay- more — Mother, Lucy, Eleanor, Father." Every thing was done with easy grace, and warm, hospi- table, and truly welcome style, that was really re- freshing and caused a glow in the heart of Mr. Claymore. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. S3 " You are just in time, Henry," said Lucy, " we have not consulted the oracle yet as to our future destinies so now prepare." They had hired a hack from the nearest town, Portumna. The man paid with an extra half-crown for himself, and a glass of the purest old mountain dew, which made him smack his lips, and, with a polite touch of his forelock, and long life to your honor, he buttoned up his freize coat, and was soon trotting away for home, singing some sarcastic ballad such as one made not so many years ago, when English tyranny enforced the barbarous old curfew law — to give it the mildest name — when every one caught out of doors after sunset was arrested by the peelers, and marched off in state and handcuffs, to appear before a Justice of the Peace next day, and give an account and particulars of what he was doing round the corner of the house, or by the turf clamp ; and when asked to explain, the poor culprit blushed, he was condemned and held guilty of something. The song alluded to ran somewhat in this way : — A batch of peelers roved out one night on duty a-patrolling, ; They met a goat upon the road and took him to be a stroller, 0. With bayonets fixed they sallied forth, and took him by the wizzen, 0, And thundered out a mighty oath, they'd send him to New Zealand, 0. 84 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. " mercy, sirs," the goat replied, " pray let me tell my story, : I am no rogue, nor ribbon-man, a crop, a whig, or a tory, 0. I happened just to walk abroad, with no intent of treason, 0, But just to meet my sweetheart now, for this is the roving season, 0." This very sarcastic ballad did not end here, and was as good as anything to be found in Rabelais or Don Quixote. The two gentlemen were shown to their rooms, and soon returned, to add to the enjoyment of the domestic circle and the brightness of the old home. Yet, only as a dream, soon to have passed away, never to return. How fortunate we do not thus soliloquise and ponder at such times, else what an amount of sadness and gloom would brood over all our happy moments through life. Some pleasant conversation having been indulged in, Henry said : " Come, Lucy, introduce us to your Oracle. I suppose you are priestess." Three plates were put on the table in a row, on one was some earth, on the next one water, and the third a ring — each respectively signifying death, emigration and marriage. The person desirous of obtaining an insight into their destiny within the future twelve months was blindfolded at a distance, then, walking towards the table, with outstretched hand, which ever plate was touched twice out of three Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 85 times told the sad, solemn or joyful secret of the future : nor did it always pass off without some secret impression, not altogether pleasing, being left upon the mind, notwithstanding the laugh of apparent indifference and levity. The Irish reader will call to mind at once those dear old scenes of long ago, and the feelings produced, the ivy leaf in the pail of water, etc. In this manner the evening was whiled away, and time and hearts beguiled until the midnight hour pealed forth from the great solemn-looking old clock in the hall, and echoed away through the old mansion, as it had done often before, regardless of the feelings of any, young or old, or of the event transpiring, death, birth, marriage or merriment. It had witnessed all such like a grim sentinel without change of countenance. How pleasant it looks, that dear old face Of the family clock, in its dark oak case, Like a household god in the hall. When the world I saw the hour it struck, One stunning sound blow, as if given for luck, When I — not the hour — did bawl. When grandfather died the hour it told, As Egyptian darkness had shrouded the wold, For the first-born, ghastly in death. 86 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. Birth, marriage and death : each shifting scene 5 T has witnessed unmoved ; or, by chorus or keene, Just measured out time, length and breadth. How soPmn it look'd, after lapse of years ; When its di'l and bell caught my eye and my ears, I thought, did it recognise me ? Tic, tic, tic — there it stood all the time That I was away in a sunnier clime, Or tossed on the waves of the sea. As each eye was closed in sleep,. and each hand lay listless across the breast of the sleeper, the heart regardless of the fact whether earth, water or ring was touched by that hand, or what was written in the book of destiny, throbbed away, recking not of issues, but of its functions ; the mind, the brain, mocked the sleeper by alternate scenes of sunshine and shadow, arranged in the most confused and incongruous order. Eleanor thought she was married, and suddenly her coach turned into a hearse, her elder brother the driver ; she could not speak, but lay as if playing her part in a ghastly scene on the stage ; then she struggled to speak, or move, but in vain. Just then a certain Lord French spoke to her, and took her by the hand after a nervous manner. She shuddered. Suddenly he raised a pistol to his head, fired ; she saw the blood spurt out, and screamed. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 87 The echoes of her own voice increased her terror, as she awoke to behold shadows moving in her room, like ghosts rising out of the blood of the supposed suicide. These weird appearances caused by the flickering embers in the grate, and heightened by her own excited brain. Her mother was soon beside her, only immediately to hear a quiet laugh, and be told it was only a dream. * * * Sleep hath its own world, And a wide realm of wild reality, And dreams in their development have breath, And tears, and tortures, and touch of joy ; They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts. Byron. 88 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. CHAPTER IV. A Oala Day as well as a Gale Day. — Two thorough- ly opposite Irish Scenes. — Rent-Day Dinner and Dance. — Supper and Dance over the Dead. 'Come, pay your rents, at all events, And down with every copper, Or no resaite, much less abate, — So John hand round a cropper. Now by the mass, we're not that class To shirk such honest paying, To landlord true and good as you There shall be no delaying. The rents paid down, without a frown, Except a whiskey wrinkle, And, better yet, the dinner's set With double X to sprinkle ; The piper's drones in merry tones Strikes up " Jack Welch to Tather," The bagpipes squeals, and soon all heels Are kicking what's the* matter ? Now boys, one spake, there is the wake, Across the fields at Kelly's, Kespect the dead, now that you're fed : For we must dance at Nelly's. She'd do the same and no small blame, — If she could hear the music, Her poor ould bones are like the drones A roarin there for Cusick. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 89 The following morning, breakfast over, somewhat late, the master of Gurteen Lodge was already in his office, his son beside him, with a genial smile and warm shake of the hand for all, and hearty welcome home in return. There was a total absence of all snobbery or cold " how dye-do on the part of the gal- lant, good-natured young soldier, a true son of the soil ; and upon the other hand there was a total absence of the stern business look of the grasping, greedy man-of-the-world. In the look and bearing of this genuine Irish landlord, a true-born gentleman — none of your English chandler or grocer, smelling of grease or groceries, nor Macclesfield weaver with shining hands smelling of wool and the loom, trying to play gentleman, Jew and jack-ass at the same time, reminding one of the fable of the ass in the lion's skin. This class of people have overrun Ireland of late years, — barely human, no humanity, speculators, the curse of the country, hated by the people, and small blame to the Irish, if history is to be trusted — more of this anon. One thing very conspicuous by absence was a middle-man. If there was one he was in the back ground, and was not there giving any confidential looks or nods of ulterior significance. G 90 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. The gentleman farmer and the peasant, humble farmer of few acres, stepped to the table in turn, paid his rent, and received his receipt with some kind words of encouragement, and expressions of hope that the crops were good and the cattle and sheep prosperous. " Yes, your honor, I can't complain." " Very glad to hear it," was the reply. " God bless your honor and spare you long to us, andal] your family." *' Here is Mrs. Mary Mulcahy, a widow, she rents a little farm of some ten acres at twenty shillings an acre. As she comes forward she is saluted with, " How do you do, Mrs. Mulcahy." " Well, your honor ; welcome home, Misther Henry, and sure we're all glad to see you and that you're not kilt by the wars. Bigor it makes the ould place smile to see you, sur, back again." u Thank you, Mrs. Mulcahy, I thought I would see all my old friends if I got here for to-day. v " I think he wants to dance a reel with yourself, , Mrs. Mulcahy, chimed in Mr. D'Arcy," good-natu- redly, for he remembers you are one of the best dancers in the barony ; at this there was a loud laugh, and a good many blushes followed each other over the modest, pleasant, and not displeased, face of Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 91 the widow, who was a woman of about fifty years and of ruddy complexion. " Arrah, your honor, Mr. Henry would rather dance wid some of the young girls than wid the loiks of an ould woman loike me, who ought to be makin her soul." A hearty laugh was indulged in by all in the room. u I was sorry to hear of your loss," said Mr. D'Arcy in a changed, sympathetic tone. Ct 0, bigor, sur, it couldn't be helped," said the widow. Henry D'Arcy asked what it was that happened, and was told that a fine cow, within a few weeks of being a new milch cow, was found drowned in a bog hole, and for which she hoped to receive ten or twelve pounds to meet the rent. The poor woman, however, took out of her little purse two five pound notes, and quietly laid them on the table. Mr. D'Arcy filled and signed her receipt and passed it to his son with some tele- graphic look, who took it, and folded it up, and quietly handed it to her, but with it was also one of the five pound notes The poor woman's eyes filled with tears, and she endeavored to express her gratitude, but in vain. Henry made a good-natured gesture for her to be silent, but her heart was too 92 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. full to be repressed iu its gushings, a kindly murmur soon ran through the room, and tears stood in the eyes of stalwarth men — no one jealous because of her good fortune, but touched and moved to tenderness by the kind thoughtfulness of their landlord and the manly graceful act of the son. Just then, had occasion offered, there was not a man in that room or around that mansion, who would not have shed the last drop of his blood in the defence or cause of the family of Gurteen Lodge. So firmly does kindness and justice bind the hearts of the Irish people to their benefactors and friends that seldom, indeed, has such a family as the one before us cause to fear molestation or murder. I feel I might add with all sincerity : palsied be the tongue which saith otherwise. Base, envious unprincipled scoundrels are to be found in every community, but surely * * * He must be a fool Who dares conclude exceptions make the rule. All the tenants of the D'Arcy family who were present this day were hospitably entertained. And by the time the last person had paid his rent and laid certain matters before the landlord in connection with his holding, the whole hfluse was ablaze with Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 93 lights from top to bottom, lanterns glided to and fro, men talked in little knots of two and three, in and out of doors, and many a hearty Irish laugh bespoke the lightsome heart. The great barn was lit up, and long tables ran its length and doubled back again. Mrs. Mulcahy, with two or three neighboring farmers' daughters were already pressed into the service for the evening, and were busy carrying and setting on the tables, under the super- vision of the coachman butler, turkeys and geese and sheep and pigs, &c. Turkeys and geese, whose rougher notes Gave way to roughest stops, For once they pulled down wheat and oats Which caused their loss of crops. If such reverses did befall Poor luckless feathered fowl What wonder, then, if piggy's bawl Became a basso -growl. Although you may attach to Ham The beastly name of swine, Quite certain of this fact I am, It settles well with wine. The lowing kine and bleating sheep Which wandered o'er the green, Their death makes jars and bottles weep Forth tears of grand potheen. 94 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. Yes, the tables literally groaned under the weight of good things, and was the cause of making many of the guests groan because they could not, consistent with safety and hopes of a successful journey home, stow any mora in the holding capacity of their skins, to make use of a New Testament revision word, so as to give no jar to excitable or over sensitive feelings. After the dinner was over the health of the host and hostess was proposed by a neighboring gentleman. O what a cheer was given — it startled the very rooks of the rookery. The Eoman Catholic priest, who was an invited guest, stood up, and in a very neat and glowing speech proposed the health of the ladies, including the hostess with her fair daughters. It would, he said, be superfluous, if not impertinent, for him to set forth the reason why their highest and noblest enthusiasm should burst into a perfect blaze at such a signal. The Eector of the parish supported the toast of his reverend brother, Father Mathew, whom all creeds respected and loved. He felt he dared not say anything else where the ladies were, as they considered Father Mathew the only man who could lay the horse-whip or blackthorn successfully about Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 95 the ears of their husbands and sweethearts, when delaying in fairs and markets to practise phlebotomy and cool down their ardor, if not their ardent spirits. As to the ladies of the toast they are known and loved in hut and hall, far and near. As he concluded vociferous cheering ensued ; nor were the two young Hussars forgotten. After which the blind piper struck up, the tune of " The Gallant Hussar." After which Mr. D'Arcy instructed the musician to strike up for the guests the well known reel called " Welcome Here Again." The tables were now cleared and removed, where- upon the parish priest and Mrs. D'Arcy, Mr. D'Arcy and the Eector's wife, young D'Arcy and Mrs. Mulcahy, the Rector and Miss D'Arcy, Lieutenant Claymore and Miss Mary, led off and opened the dance, the piper striking up the well- known Irish reel, u Off She Goes." England, if Ireland is a hot-bed of riot and rebellion it is thy fault, and that she is not the hot-bed of love and loyalty, which latter are the indigenous products of her soil and souls. 1 must here record the words of a talented, learned and good Irishman, obscure it may be to a certain extent, yet widely known as the author of that most pathetic charming ode, " The Burial of Sir 96 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. John Moore." Educated for a few years in England, he finished his education within the precincts of dear old Trinity College, Dublin. Here is what he says of and how he describes the Irish character : " The Irish possess a greater capability of good or evil than any other nation upon the face of the globe. There is a quietness of intellect, a vivacity of fancy, a restlessness of curiosity, and a warmth of heart, that can be turned either to the very best or the very worst purposes, and form the elements either of the most exalted or the most degraded of rational beings. They in some respects resemble the power and versatility of fire, which sometimes bursts from the volcano, sometimes is applied by the incendiary to a house with sleeping inmates, or can be turned by powerful and complicated ma- chinery to the service of man, or made to rise in incense before the throne of God in Heaven." From harvest-home to solemn wake^ Around the dead to keene, The Irish character will take The impress of each scene ; To solemn or most lightsome soul His sympathy impart ; His grief profound knows no control, Or buoyancy of heart. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 97 All the tenants and neighbors who had been enjoying the hospitalities and festivities at Gurteen Lodge had not yet taken their departure when a small group of boys and girls might have been seen and heard wending their way across the fields to a farmer's house, Thady Kelly by name. It was not yet midnight. They were going to attend the wake of an old beggar-woman, who had been well known in the place, by the name of Nellie Baskey. As the night was dark and wild, and moreover about the solemn hour of midnight, when spirits are supposed to haunt more than ever lonely places, and be more impatient of interruption, one of the boys w T as asked to sing a song by the way, to while away the time, but in truth to scare away the- ghosts or get up more courage, which was fast evaporating through the pores of the skin, as also the aroma of the spirits of Gurteen Lodge. The singer was just doing his very best, under the most trying circumstances, when a light flashed before him stood, moved, and suddenly vanished, — so did the last vibrations of the song, and every hand was instantly raised to make the sign of the cross, a pious act never forgotten by the Irish peasant, Eoman Catholic, in time of supposed danger, or evil, supernatural influences. The boys and girls hugged 98 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. one another closely and reciprocally, and moved on very nervously, scarcely breathing. One of the boys at once stopped and, pulling off his coat, turned it inside out and again put it on in that way, for this, let me inform the reader not well posted in such lore, is considered as potent against the evil influences of Will-o'-the wisps or Jack-o'-the-lantern, which are supposed to lead people astray, but the turning of the coat frustrates all. They were just approaching an old bocheen enclosed by high hedges of old hawthorn bushes with thick dark ivy bodies ; near by were the gables of an old house covered with ivy. They had to cross the old lane over stone stiles, and one at a time. The great question in each one's mind was who would be first, or, rather, who would not be last. But no one spoke. Just then another object arrested their attention simultaneously. It was a white object, floating in mid-air, about four or five feet from the ground. It moved up and down at irregular inter- vals. There was no retreating, nor yet could they think of crossing either to right or left of the stile, as a deep dyke ran along under the hedge. Great drops of perspiration oozed from every pore and rolled down their faces. Not a soul moved, nor yet dared to speak. Up and down went the white object. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 99 The image of the dead woman in her white sheet floated before their minds, if not their eyes, when** suddenly, something light as air whisked by them, then followed a shriek, a fearful crash and splash, a groan. The women did not faint but fled with the swiftness of deer, — and, though unpleasant to relate, it was every one for themselves — and terror-stricken they rushed into the barn at Tady Kelly's where the dead body of poor old Nellie Baskey lay, covered over with a white sheet. Candles were lighting: a 1 around the walls, to which they were stuck with their own grease. o The watchers, who were sleeping, started to their feet with consternation depicted upon every face, and, in a perfect state of bewilderment indescribable, seized hold of one another. A most ludicrous scene presented itself on all sides. The piper was dead drunk in the corner where he had been playing, and several others were in the same advanced state of spirits and smoke, for a large number were smoking away out of long new clav pipes, which are also handed around at Irish wakes, as well as snuff where the dead is decently treated. In the midst of the confusion one great coarse- looking woman of about forty, with a white rag tied round her head as a bandage, jumped to her feet 100 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. and clapping her hands together wailed out : " mother, allannah, mother, asthore, won't you be quiet, what have I ever done to you ? " This she addressed to the dead. " mother, darlint, shure you nearly kilt me entirely." It is true this woman had taken a glass or two, which, together with the smoke and the sleep, rather obscured her waking thoughts and faculties. She was the daughter of old Nellie, and the wife of a soldier whose company was quartered in a neigh- boring town. She had come in time to close the poor old woman's eyes and lay her out. But it was the poor old woman who laid her out, with a vengeance, as the sequel will show. Here is what occurred, as told by an eye-witness : Poor old Nellie Baskey of late, during her life- time of course, walked with a stick but not straight as a stick, but crooked as a ram's horn, both in back and legs, so when she died, she did not limber up, as the Eoyal Artillery would say, but puckered up so badly, poor old woman, that her daughter and some other women present were much perplexed what to do to straighten her out on the table, as it was out of the question to lay her out as she was — she would not make a purty corpse to wake — she would look more like a toy rocking-horse, so th6 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 101 daughter determined to try and straighten her, so she pulled at the heels of the corpse and another woman held the head, but in vain, the sinews would break before they would bend. She then tried another experiment, and succeeded, although with the manifest disapprobation of the corpse, and not without hurt to the daughter. She procured — that is the daughter — a great heavy flat stone to press upon the knees, but found that the bare w r eight was not sufficient, so, standing at the feet of the corpse, she raised the great flat stone between her hands and brought it down with a thud on the cocked-up knees of the dead which made the head of the corpse fly up and exactly meeting the head of her devoted daughter, left her hors de combat in a most undignified position. The corpse also took to the floor, and the women present took to their heels, and became absent in mind and body after the most surprising manner. When the daughter of the regiment recovered her senses — for she had lost control of her understanding w T hen the corpse saluted her head with a kiss — she staggered to her feet, to find herself alone and her poor old mother under the table. She instinctively put her hand to her forehead to find a large bump developing itself and just then indicating sensitiveness. 102 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. She staggered to the door and called for assistance, and saw a number collected and yet not looking collected by any means. She assured them the corpse was not sturrin now. " Faith 'en she was sturrin a minute ago/' said one, crossing herself, for she sot up all at wansht av a suddint. It was the most surprising thing I ever sot eyes upon." As their numbers increased so did their courage, and curiosity getting the better of their fears they gradually approached the barn-door, but to behold an awful ghastly sight in the corpse lying on the floor, and just then one of them looked up at the daughter and exclaimed, "Ow, ow, Mrs. Corporal, your head is all av a lump, arrah what befelt yes at all, at all ? " Some one at once applied some whiskey and water and bandaged up her head ; a little drop of the same was just applied internally by the rest. The body was raised, and once more set upon the table. The large stone once more applied, but with more caution and scientific knowledge, and without any disquisi- tion upon cause and effect. After a good deal of springing up and pressing down the body was at last made to look passable, as well as passive, with the large flat stone balanced upon the knees and a- white sheet thrown over all. The last touch was given, and every thing declared ready. A table was set Scenes anct Incidents in Irish Life. 103 in the corner of the barn, at which two or three men were preparing for the crowd of the night. They were cutting tobacco and filling a lot of clay pipes, and arranging some plates of snuff, etc. It was at this stage the writer walked in to pay his respects to the dead, or rather, like a great many of the present day who attend wakes and funerals, to see and to be seen, or for popularity sake. Not so refined it is true as that English sympathy noticed at funerals when horses and empty coaches are sent to represent their owner's head and heart and spirit, the earnest sympathetic Irish poor do the opposite, namely, go themselves and leave their asses at home. However, I was only a boy at the time, and boys are everywhere. I had somewhat interrupted the priest a few days before when administering Extreme Unction to the dying woman. But I did not interrupt anyone upon this occasion, but some one else did a little time after I entered. There was a good-natured sfirl trvingr to do her duty to the dead and she had fallen asleep and snoring with her head thrown back, and thereby attracted more attention than conduced to her comfort and placidity, like a great many people in the world, — but in her case she did not court it, A boy of the waking number went to help around the snuff, and, 104 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life] without consulting the sleeper's fancies or tastes, applied some of the snuff to her nose at the time when an up-current had declared itself by sounds unmistakeable. The result was surprising, and it was a question whether the audience or the sleeper were the more affected ; but all was taken in good part. The piper had slept off his fit, and now felt for his pipes, and whispered to some one at hand to give him a little drop, when he would feel all right, for indeed it was asserted that he always played best when he had a drop in. He seemed to put more wind in the pipes, and they therefore roared louder and screamed more inharmoniously. I do not know whether there is any analogy between this and a colic in a human being, but Mickey Hobbins, the blind piper, cared not. Every night and its scenes has an end, so had this. The day was breaking, and the neighbors were returning to their respective homes ; but one group determined to return by the way they had come a few hours before, and that was the party who had come across the fields from Gurteen Lodge festivities and were so terrified. They wanted to see if the ghost left any traces of his presence or displeasure. As they recrossed the old bocheen, and got at the dyke side of the hedge there was a partial Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 105 explanation of the cause of their alarm, and the white object which they had seen. It was the old bald-faced horse of Tady Kelly, lying in the dyke, unable to move, with one of its eyes presenting a sickening sight, and its white face of the night before now all plastered with mud from its struggles. The plain explanation of the ghost story and the attendant incidents were these : the poor old horse was at the sheltered side of the hedge with its tail as near to the shelter as the dyke would admit. It. was asleep, and the head was moving up and down, like a person asleep in a chair. The bald face was in marked contrast to the dark back-ground of the ivy hedge, and looked larger. The light object that was perceived to have whisked past them, followed by a screech and a splash and groans, must have been an owl, which swooped at the old horse, struck it, screeched, and startled the sleeping brute, so that it fell into the dyke with a splash and a groan, and what ever else was lacking to heighten and intensify * their fears they supplied themselves. And thus ended their night's adventure, but not the repetition of the story, which, like the waves caused by a stone cast into a great lake, yea, the Atlantic Ocean itself, still roll on until they break upon its most distant shores, although it may be with lessened, and almost H 106 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. imperceptible, effect. But they still have power to awaken in the breast the pleasant memories of the past. The old homes, old friends, old firesides and scenes, long gone, and, alas ! forever. Ere my mind may lose its power to recall each scene and dwell upon it with delight, though melancholy intermingle, let me breathe my last breath, heave my last sigh, bless the land of my birth, and the sleeping ashes of our pious, honest-hearted, simple-minded forefathers who, though dead, yet live and speak. No, England thou shalt never root out the noble Celtic seed from Erin's sacred soil by emigration, to transplant it with a race inferior, whose blood clots in its veins, through sluggish palpitation. The dash and glory which has attached itself to the name of England, has derived its start and stability from Irish blood and bravery. Say who are these who death defy, To fear each man's a stranger — Dost thou not know the Irish cry Of Ireland's Connaught Kanger ? Faugh-a-ballach ! England love such noble sons : For thee they've braved all danger, Should their's to thee prove foeman's guns, Beware the Connaught Kanger, Faugh-a-ballach. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. Driven afar to foreign soil, These noble sons and daughters, Their hatred will be blazing oil Poured on thy troubled waters, Faugh-a-ballach, 108 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. CHAPTER V. E must now return to Gurteen Locbe : it is o one o'clock in the morning, and the com- pany has nearly all departed, undoubtedly full of spirits. The last jaunting car and horseman have gone through the avenue gate, the clear ring of the horses' hoofs has died away in the distance, and, save the desultory bark of the watch-dogs, things in and around the place have resumed their wonted quiet- ness. A pleasant little group are assembled in the quaint old drawing-room, the two ladies of the house and Lieutenant Claymore. Mrs. D'Arcy and the young Hussar were giving their instructions about the hunt in the morning. — the meet was at the cross-roads in the vicinity of Gurteen Lodge. The young people in the drawing-room were laughing over the events of the evening, the un- affected silvery laugh of those genuine Irish girls, whose eyes sparkled with modest mirthfulness, and their faces beamed with that untutored and unstudied brightness and artless geniality, which delighted and entranced the heart and soul, but is fast disap- pearing in this nineteenth century. Young D'Arcy Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 109 soon entered, when the whole complimented him upon his good dancing and good wind, with the Widow Mulcahy, who defeated him, of course, amidst the cheers of the company. However he reminded Mr. Claymore that he would have an opportunity of showing what he could do in crossing the country in the morning with the ladies, after the hounds, to win Beynard's brush. A little more desultory chit-chat, and all retired to their respective rooms to sleep and dream, or, in the stillness of the night, hold secret converse with the heart. And what strange thoughts flit athwart the mind at such time, without shape or order. As Claymore stood with his back to the blazing turf fire, he quietly looked around the room, and thought to himself, " what a quaint old house ; what a gay laughing girl Lucy is. I must get her to sing that song of ' the daisy ' again," and he repeated quietly to himself : — The daisy to me hath a loving eye, sad is my heart, and my love's far away. Then some of the scenes of the evening came up before his mind's-eye and provoked a smile. He had witnessed a genuine Irish scene that night for the first time in his life — an Englishman by birth. He 110 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. had just returned from India where he had been for a short time, but the climate disagreed with him, and he was home on sick leave. A little more, and his room was in darkness, except the flickering light from the dying embers in the grate, which caused moving shadows to flit about the room, and strange . appearances to suddenly present themselves and as suddenly fade away. The young Lieutenant was not superstitious, yet he got possessed with the feeling that there was some- ting wierd or supernatural in the place. He could not sleep, but with half-closed eyes he watched the shadows become fainter and fainter. He thought once he perceived a vibration in the air, and then he thought it was only a fancy, and endeavored to sleep ; again he perceived as if something fanned the air, and the curtains of his bed moved. His curiosity? if nothing more, was excited — sleep he could not — he glided out of bed, over to the fire-place took the tongs, probed for a coal, got his candle and lighted and it, proceeded to explore the room — looked under his bed but nothing was there. He perceived a half- closed closet door, which he closed, and again retired to his bed, persuading himself — though not to his satisfaction, be it confessed — that it was only his fancy, being in a strange house, or the effects of the Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. Ill Irish whiskey-punch, which was new to him, and therefore affected his imagination. Such was the current of his thoughts when sudden- ly a most unearthly acreech rang through the room, which made his hair stand on end and caused him to start up in his bed ; the same weird cry, half-human* filled the room ; he again essayed to light his candle as before, and had just succeeded when something extinguished it, nor could he tell what ; nothing daunted he attempted to light it again and succeeded, and, holding the tongs in one hand and the candle in the other, looked cautiously around the room when what should he see but a great owl, sitting above his bed, blinking at him. He at once con- cluded it was a pet, so he once more got into bed and slept soundly, with his weird watcher over head. His account next morning of the affair was the cause of much mirth ; the owl was captured. It had entered his room through a small window which looked out amongst the old ivy trees from the closet off his room, the door of which he had closed w T hen first aroused, thereby preventing the exit of his nocturnal visitor. Next morning all was astir at an early hour. Breakfast over, the horses were led around to the hall door ; the ladies were soon assisted into their 112 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. saddles. Mr. D'Arcy was mounted upon a strong, trusty old hunter, Mr. Claymore and young D'Arcy on a pair of young, fiery animals, when, suddenly, the horn of the huntsman filled the air with music and the hearts of all with excitement. The ladies looked gay upon their curvetting but well-trained animals, which they sat most grace- fully, and as they cantered along to the place of rendezvous their merry laugh rang out on the morning air. The red-coated squires came cantering along and received a genial nod of good-morning from the Gurteen ladies. Not a poor person, man or woman, passed without a kind word from the ladies, and the country girls got a pleasant com- pliment from Mr. D'Arcy and his son ; the latter being often saluted with : " welcome home, your honor," or a rousing cheer. All looked happy and were happy. The air was vocal with the song of birds ; the hearty laugh, the musical tally-ho, and huntsman's horn were all the offspring of nature's smiles — her blessings profusely bestowed upon a noble people composed of a genial, generous gentry, a contented, pious peasantry, all feeling that the peace, prosperity and pleasures of both were com- bined and intertwined. In short, their feelings of near brotherhood were mutual. From the Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 1 13 hunting-field to the harvest-home gathering, their joys and enjoyment were mutual and inseparable. A people of buoyant and excitable natures, with a total absence of sullen moroseness. As the cry of the hounds is heard and the ringing cheers of the people re-echo o'er hill and dale, here and there we see the ploughman hastily unyoke his horses, turn one into the hedge to graze, whilst he mounts the other, and dashes away bareback, all aglow with excitement, nor need he fear his master will bring him to account for giving way to such a pardonable and universal impulse. Life, it was universally acknowledged, did not mean slavery and unceasing drudgery nor the repressing and crushing out of buoyancy and innocent enjoyment, THE FOX HUNT. High over the fences and over each drain I see the bold riders and hear the refrain — Tally-ho ! But the boldest of riders there to be seen Are the two Irish girls, the pride of Gurteen — Tally-ho ! See, here are the ladies ; now boys clear the way ! The fence is well taken ; the people hurra — Tally-ho ! 114 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, Next follows a dandy, that's just from the town, He asks if the people will take the fence down — Tally-ho ! The response he receives is not a hurra ! But a shower of mud, and the people cry, bah ! Tally-ho ! The run is just ended, whip, whip and a rush : The air it resounds with " Miss Mary ? s the brush," — Tally-ho ! As down from her bridle the brush is seen swing Loud cheers from the people exultingly ring — Tally-ho ! Young Claymore has ridden beside her all day, His heart with the brush has been won by the way — Tally-ho ! Keturning home from the hunt, Mr. Claymore rode beside Mary D'Arcy, Miss Lucy rode along with her brother and a neighboring young gentleman, discussing and laughing over the different incidents or accidents of the day. Passing a wayside cabin a couple of barefooted children stood gazing at the company as they rode by. Mary D'Arcy paused and, addressing the older one, said : " Alley, how is your mother ? " " She's been mighty sick, Miss, all day," replied the child, politely courtseying. u Might I trouble you, Mr. Claymore, to assist me Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 115 to alight," said Mary D'Arcy, " as this is one of my patients, you know." The pleasant duty was only too readily performed, and the gallant young Lieutenant patiently awaited her return. As they rode homewards Mary communicated to Claymore how poorly the sick woman was, and her great need of one thing or another, and thus they chatted t until they arrived at the hall. "No sooner had Mary D'Arcy changed her riding costume than she proceeded to the kitchen to prepare something for the sick woman she had just been visiting, a little hare soup and some chicken, as also a little jelly, some tea and sugar, etc., with which she despatched a servant ; then, with a feeling of satisfaction, as one who feels conscious of having performed or discharged a duty of love, she returned to her room to dress for dinner. Soon one after another began to assemble in the drawing-room — amongst the number a few r of the neighboring gentry, both ladies and gentlemen, as also the Rector and wife and the Roman Catholic parish priest. Eight pleasant ran the chat about the day's adventures. " By the way, Father Luke," said Lucy D'Arcy, " I see you have been playing Englishman to-day," and at the same time she gave a sly look 116 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. of mischief at Claymore — " and for which your country and parishioners will demand an explana- tion." The good-natured and good-humored priest looked at her as he remarked, with a comical expression : "By Saint Anthony when the angels turn one's accuser we may as well prepare our kit for New Zealand, and plade guilty before the Court. Now may I ask to hear the charge, Miss Lucy ? " " I saw you at the death and at the funeral by proxy, to the great disgrace of your nation, and I saw you at the hunt by proxy, to which your parish and bishop will have something to say." At this there was a roar of laughter, as the priest's horse was seen tearing away after the hounds, and clearing the fences in good style, with a barefooted, bareheaded urchin on its back, and holding on like grim death to the saddle, his feet stuck through the stirrup leather. As this scarecrow flew through the .country the way in which the highest fences were cleared and the speed of Toby — which was the name of the priest's horse — was surprising, because of the light weight the animal was carrying. This scene caused the most uproarious mirth, and the wildest shouts and hurras, Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 117 imaginable, and, what added still more to the excitement was, some bawled out to others : " Blood- an-ouns, the priesht's horse is batin thim all." And the news was soon ahead of the hunt that Father Luke was at the tail of the hounds, and that he wasnt like himsel' at all, at all, and " by gor, not a one av them was able to blow wind in his tail, and that he as good as had the brush." And as the huntsmen flew by and left the crowds behind, the news was sent backwards that the priesht had the tail. How the whole thing came about was this : Father Luke was visiting a sick parishioner, and gave his horse to one of the gossoons to hold, who, as soon as the priest had disappeared inside the house, brought the animal to a stone wall and mounted, as, like most Irish boys, he was quite at home on a horse bareback. He was quietly walking up and down the road, but now and again trying a little trot, and rising up and down in the saddle, somewhat out of time, and with varied and unsatisfactory cadences of voice and body. All of a sudden, however, the horse stopped, but the youngster did not, but was shot forward to drop backward on the pommel of the saddle, rather awkwardly, and then, with a plunge, cleared the 118 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. road fence, the hounds having come in sight and then a horseman — Toby having been a hunter belonging to a gentleman in the neighborhood, who sold him to the priest. This occasioned much fun for all the neigbor- hood, and the priest told it to many a wondering crowd before and after mass, and young Shamus Killeen w r as immortalised, and provided for from that day out, as he was hired at Gurteen to work about the stables and wait upon who ever wanted him. As dinner was now announced Father Luke offered his arm to Miss Lucy, Claymore to Mary, and all proceeded to the dining-room in due order, and good humor and no worse appetites. Who would not have wished to have been one of the party ? Many a pleasant story went round of hunt and huntsman, fair and fight, until, dinner being over, the ladies retired to the drawing-room and the gentle- men prepared to enjoy their wine and whiskey- punch. As the decanter circulated, the gentlemen, through Mr. D'Arcy, requested Father Luke to give them a thrilling incident from among the many of the troubled times, as they were called, and with much of which he was well acquainted and had a happy knack of describing. ^Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 119 The priest, without any pretended modesty or hesitation, conscious only of an honest desire to -please and acquiesce in the universal wish, first added a little whiskey to what was in his tumbler, filled his wine-glass, and, rising said, " Allow me, gentlemen, to propose the health of the ladies of Gurteen, may they live long, and, like the lovely flowers of our meadows and blossoms of spring, shed their sweetness upon all around and fill every heart with joy and pleasure that comes within reach of their influence, as they do to-day, the beloved of all ; and I would also add, may the Lord long spare our host to his friends, tenants and the country, and all who are like him. It is an old saying, like father, like son. Amin" As he said this he looked at young D'Arcy. This little speech, unstudied and heartfelt, was warmly applauded by all, and was modestly and affectingly acknowledged by the host, whereupon the priest related the following : " I was stationed not far from Banagher some years ago — the times were in a very disturbed state, the Whiteboys, Bibbon Men and Peep-o-day Boys were carrying on, and small blame to them ! for the distress and hard tratement they would resaive the Lord forgive the oppressors and wrong- doers who ever they may be. Amin. 120 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life* " Well, there was an ould family of the O'lSTaills who favored the boys, and they spint and ran through their property, to help the cause ; they were awful- good to the poor and distressht, and they were much harassed and bothered intirely by the peelers and government until they had to lave the country. One of the young fellows remained, and got into some scrape, and he was wanted one day by the peelers \ they searched high and low for him, but the boys were all thru-blues to him, so one day an ould man by the name of KToonan kicked the bucket? and was dacently waked. He was an ould friend to the cause too, dead and alive. Well, the boys wanted to get young O'Naill out of his hiding-place, and to the banks of the Shannon, to make for Limerick, so as to get him aboord a craft that was ready to sail for the coast of Spain, so, knowing the intintions of ould Noonan to be the same, dead or alive, the boys dressed him up in his Sunday shoot, brogues and all ; and his Sunday baver hat, and then, feeling sartin that what would not offind the dead when alive, would not, when dead intirely, — and more betoken when there was some lively work to be done, so one of the boys poured some potheen down the throat of the corpse, so as to give him a smell as if he was alive, and decave the Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 121 peelers if they should come near the car. Well, Bill Noonan, the dead man, had a twin brother Jim, an' they wor as loike as two eggs, and he came to the funeral, so he was hid away, and the dead man was made, as it wor, take his place at his own funeral, and young O'Neill was put into the coffin. Howsomever it was he looked more like the corpse than the corpse did himself. Well the dead man was lifted on to the lace of the car, his legs hanging down, and two of thim boulsthered him up. It went hard agin the feelins, but they knew the dead man would have said < all right, boys, you can rickon on me if I am alive,' — that was a sayin av his when he was in his right sperits— and, what was quare after all, whenever a friend thrated him to a drop he took it more for the sake of others than himself, so that, dead or alive, he was loike himself in that respect. " Well they had a long way to go, for the ould churchyard was nigh the Shannon, so the boys took the coffin on to their shoulders, and the wimmin began to keen. It would melt the heart in your body to hear it. O'Neill must have felt it quare to be a dead man, and hearing his friends keenin and a wailin for him. Well, as the funeral went on, and was passing the police station, the two men in I 122 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. charge came out and stood on the road, and eyed every mother's son of them, and when they saw the dead man, they looked at each other and smiled? as much as to say, ' JimNoonan, your in your glory. Well the wimmin keened harder than ever, for they were all av a trimble, for fear it would lake out. Well, on they all went, and, as they wor a coming near the place a boy came tarin, and tould the boys, there was a large body of police in the church yard ; as if prepared for a row or something, or perhaps some mangy vagabone had informed, as there w r as a big reward for O'Neill, if cotched. Wel^ the boys wanted to distract the peelers' attentions from the river, as that was their only chance, so they consulted hastily, and a hint was given to others to keep the women quiet; and the boys laid the coffin down and commenced a sham fight, and one of them ran to the church-yard and gave the alarm that there was a bloody fight going on, and that one man was kilt and dead. The shouting and fighting went on as loike as if it was a fair-day spree. The real corpse was laid on the side of the road ; and the coffin was lifted on to the car. The peelers soon came at the double, but the boys hammered away, while the wimmin drove on with the coffin, and as they came to an ould lane they let O'Neill Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 123 out, who knew where his friends were waitin for him, with a boat. The women then pushed on to the churchyard, and, as there were others waiting, the coffin was dropped into the grave, and some were shovelling in the clay, when the peelers, or two of them, come a tearin like mad and tould them to sthop. ' It is late/ said the boys, ' and we do not want to lave the dead uncovered/ 1 Hould an, my brave fellows/ said the peelers, 1 we want to see if you havint forgot to put him in the coffin at all/ By this time the rest of the peelers had arrived, with the dead man on one of the cars, and a number of the boys handcuffed together. So, one of the peelers took hould of the shovel and jumped into the grave, and began firing up the clay like mad, and they were intirely bothered to stir the coffin or take off the lid of it, as some large stones were in it, and the lid nailed down. ' What does this mane \ 1 says the officer in command. 'Begor, it manes there's a mishtake's, that 's all/ says one of the boys, — he was a school master, and was well able to spake up. * Why was not the dead man put in the coffin ? ' enquired the officer. 1 Begor, if you wor in his place, mebby its soon enough you'd think you'd be on your back in it, and loike to see all you could av 124 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. the world afore you'd lave it. If you gev us time, the dead would be decently buried, loike a christian crayther.' " ' Then why were you covering up the coffin without the dead body in it ? ' Further enquired the officer. ' Why sure there's the mishtake,' says Kelly, the school-mashter, not at all non-plushed, becase the boys here thought he was in the coffin, and that's not their fault. Well, there was no help for it but to put poor ould Noonan in his own coffin and bury him, as it was only an Irish row and trick, not quite apparent nor indictable.' " The officer was taken aside by the sargint, and two men dispatched directly to the river, and then a third, a boat which was lying there was shoved out into the river, and away they shot with the current, like dogs on the scent, and the rest of the peelers watched the boys. " O'Neill and the boys were well on the way, and, having hoisted a small sail, shot down the river like a water- witch. O'Neill held the tiller and the sheet, and the two boys pulled like Throjans. Portumna was seen in the distance, and was soon left behind. Now was heard the report of a gun, and then another and another. O'Neill looked behind and seemed anxious, ' I hope the boys will Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 125 meet us/ he whispered. Another report was heard, yet not a word was exchanged by those in the escaping boat. ' Pull away, rny hearties/ said O'Neill in a whisper. " The peelers had pulled near the shore on the Portumna side, and, as they expected, two policemen stood on the shore. They had seen the other boat sweep down under sail and oars ; this was enough. The two fresh men entered the boat, the sergeant held the tiller. As at first, no time was lost, when away shot the boat in pursuit. The sun was just gone down behind the distant hill, still on flew the pursued and pursuer, like a hare escaping from the hounds. It was a race for life. " O'Neill prayed and longed for darkness — the pursuers for prolonged light, for, if successful, promotion and profit were certain. " The escaping party now hugged the shore on the Tipperary side, and soon a small boat appeared in sight as if heading for the Galway side. Just then the shrill whistle of the gray plover was heard on the water, and immediately a reply was given from the escaping boat. The other was soon along- side, an exchange of men rapidly carried out, O'Neill received a brace of double-barrelled pistols and a flask of potheen, a warm grasp of the hand from 126 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. his departing friends. A quivering lip refused to speak what the silent tear betrayed. " O'Neill said, ' hang on our track/ as the others fell behind. His boat, obeying her helm, fell off before the wind, the sail flapped and filled, and the boat skimmed over the water like a living thing, conscious of the great issues at stake. " The moon was now sailing through the heavens, but dark clouds heavily rolled athwart her face, each one of which was anxiously watched by O'Neill. Just then, boom, went another discharge of a gun, and another in quick succession, but our heroes bent themselves to their oars. A strong gust of wind now filled the sail which made it almost superfluous for the oars. ' Rist, my boys,' said O'Neill, c you may want all your strength before morning. God help the right,' and the two rowers responded, 'imm,' u They flew past a place called Balleyglass, and the old ivy head of its castle was seen from the shore, and soon was far behind and lost in the dark shadows of the woods. " The pursuing boat had by this time succeeded in hoisting a sail after a fashion — out of the great- coat of one of the peelers, with a musket for a mast . This was a great help. They discharged another Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 127. shot, in hope of drawing some peelers off shore, to intercept the fugitives, or locate them. Just as they fired, a boat crossed their bow, at some little distance, which they hailed and ordered to haul to, and hastily asked who they were, and where they were going ? ' To see what is the matter with you,' said one of the occupants of the other boat, and if you were in any distress, or perhaps your powdher was wet, and no use to you, so that you wor firing it all away / and he laid provoking emphasis on the word use. u 1 Hello, Noonan, is that you ? 1 said the sergeant* who recognized his voice, ' what are you doing here so soon after your father's funeral ? ' ' Because I couldnt come, nor get back any sooner,' said Xoonan. ' What has you so far from home, sergeant, agra ? ' said he in return, with provoking coolness. " Ju3t then another boat hove in sight, and a gruff voice called out, ■ who goes there V 'A friend ' replied sergeant Callaghan, 1 who are you ? 9 ' Her Majesty's constabulary/ and a dark lantern was produced. Noonan and his companion were ordered not to move at the risk of being shot. A hurried consultation was held aside between the constabu- lary. Sergeant Callaghan was now convinced that the game was afoot, and that they were on the scent. 1 28 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. The boat just from the shore had a small sail at the bottom, which was at once transferred to the pursuing boat. Noonan and his companion was taken into custody by the others, and brought ashore. The other boat now dashed off with a fresh impetus, under pressure of the borrowed sail. " O'Neill and his companions in silence sat like statues, but, with anxious eyes and heart, scanned the shore ; and, as the moon looked out at intervals and threw her rays on the waters, they looked behind for a pursuing foe, which they felt were on their track. " The night wore on, and at length they saw Limerick in the distance, or rather its dim lamps- O'Neill steered for the western shore, as one who was familiar with the place. He soon ran the boat like an arrow amongst some low bushes. He now gave a shrill call, as a green plover or pewit, then paused, before repeating the call. His heart was throbbing, — now was a critical moment. His pursuers behind him soon would give the alarm. He repeated the call, and then listened. His comrades shoved off their boat and tacked, so as to mislead any boat pursuing. They made for the eastern shore, then tacked, and headed up stream. " O'Neill, in great suspense and anxiety, crouched Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 129 and crept forward for an old tower near to a few large trees. . He paused and repeated his call, when a reply greeted his ears, and made his heart bound with joy. A friend was at hand, the reply came from the direction of the old tower, then from the bank of the river up-stream, and approached him gradually. He remained perfectly still, gave another call with a certain prolonged note, when a man's voice called out 1 tee.' O'Neill responde< I ' a-a-a' ; 4 r' responded the stranger. ' a-all's right, ' replied O'Neill, when the two men clasped hands, and disappeared in the direction of the trees. " fc You must drive the mail to Killkee,' said the stranger, ' make for the point beyond the puffing holes, you will find a friend there, the word is black' As he said this he led O'Neill to a point where a horse and an old gig stood, into which both got and rattled away along an old bye-road until they came to the main road, leading from Limerick to Killkee. They paused, and soon a coach and pair came in sight, — a gentleman and a couple of ladies, a little boy and girl were the passengers. At a signal from O'Neiirs friend the coach stopped, the driver of which vacated his seat, which O'Neill at once occupied. He was well muffled up, as the morning was cold, and the rain was coming down 130 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. in a drizzle. The driver of the mail coach got into the gig which O'Neill had vacated, and the two followed on leisurely after the coach, in earnest conversation. "No sooner had the coach entered the village than O'Neill took his whip, and dropping it over the back of the nigh horse, or left hand one, he looked the opposite way, when a boy stood in the road, and said ' cold and dark, driver.' The horses slackened their pace, and this way-side passenger mounted into the box, and on went the stage to some strag- gling cottages, to the left of the village, where O'Neill alighted, and the other took the reins. O'Neill now hastened along the coast, which at this point is rocky, some great flat table rocks jut out into the restless sea. Through these rocks the sea has worn a hole from beneath, and, as the waters rush in, are thrown or forced with great violence up through this hole and to a great height. * O'Neill waited for some time and then gave the call of the pewit, and sat down, looking into the sea j a boat was seen to shove off from the beach, where stand the bathing boxes, and steer in the direction of where he was standing. It passed him by, and rounded the point. He heard a seagull's cry come from the boat ; yet no such bird was in Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 131 sight. This was enough. O'Neill followed the boat, yet slowly, until he lost sight of the village. He made his way down on a projecting rock, and as the long canvass boat of the fisherman was passing him, he called out, ' the-sky looks — 6' said the boatman; ' I • — said O'Neill, ' a- aha ' said the other as if laughing, ' c ' continued O'Neill, * &ay of the door ' said the other, as he backed his boat to O'Neill's feet, and pulled on straight, and then out to sea ; and soon they were lost to sight. " The forenoon wore away before a sail appeared. At last a schooner hove in sight ; the boat at once ran across her course, and asked if there was any message on board for Killkee, or information wanted ? ' Yes ' said one, who appeared to be in command, ' 1 want a hand, who wants help, and 6e- e-e ? £ don't swear, captain W-love' ; 'a-aha,' laughed the captain ; ' c see' shouted the boatman, ' the sky ; 1 &-kum on boord,' said the captain. So O'Neill got aboord and escaped. The peelers fell in with the others, questioned them, brought them to Limerick> searched all the out-going vessels, and watched, but could not find their man, but got well laughed at for their pains, and from that day to this to say to the peelers around there, ' where is O'Neill and who buried Noonan ? ' the peelers get awful mad.' 5 132 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. They all applauded the priest and felt glad to find O'Neill did escape. He wrote back to a friend, says the priest, and I saw the letter, and it was the most affecting thing I ever read. " As I stood on the deck of the schooner, — said he, — which bore me away from all I love dearest upon earth, and thought, what have I done, that I should be hunted like a wild beast, with a price set on my head; I have neither murdered nor robbed, only loved my native land, and fellow countrymen and women better than the stranger, the conqueror and op- pressor. As I saw the last of that land where my heart is, and that the last of her hills sank behind the horizon, I threw myself on the deck and wept, and then I prayed for the noble aud true friends who risked their liberties, if not their lives, to deliver me out of the hands of the cruel enemy of my native country, I may never see again, Tell the boys I leave them all an exile's blessing. I sail for America in a few days, give Father Luke rny love, and tell him I ask his prayers." Here the tears rolled down the priest's face, and for a few moments not a word was uttered; but the gentlemen emptied their glasses, only to fill them again. JScenes and Incidents in Irish Life. O ! the punch of Gurteen Was some good old potheen, Distilled by one Barney Lynch. As you sat by the fire, And kept chat with the Squire, Happy you felt every inch. Some declared it was true, It was real mountain dew, Gathered on old Slievnamon, Or the old Devil's bit, As it brightened your wit, Where it came from was all one. Yes it scattered all cares Like the fleet-footed hares, Fleeing away from the hounds, And your heart it kept time, With the story or rhyme, Or rapt with musical sounds. ! long gone are those times Like the marriage bell chimes, Or flowTS and song birds of June. Thus has times withering breath Hushed in silence of death Voices we loved in the tomb. 134 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. CHAP. VI. Sexton, Sexton, the passing bell toll, Asking the prayers for departing soul ; Solemn it sounds and soft on the air, Eising to heav'n with incense of prayer. HE old clock in the hall pointed out a quarter to the midnight hour when Father Luke rose to depart, but his residence was only a short dis- tance off, so having taken leave of all, and but- toned up his overcoat, and stick in hand, he was starting to walk, when Mr. Claymore proposed to walk a short distance with the good priest, for the sake of the walk, before retiring to bed. In truth he felt much drawn towards Father Luke, and thought he would enjoy a chat with him across the fields, a id by the old abbey at that hour. Having lighted his cigar, and likewise took a stick in his hand, the priest and young officer started. As they emerged from the hall door the priest said, " We will follow this walk to the right, through the rookery and by the old abbey walls, as a short cut." Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 135 The sky was overcast, yet sufficient light to follow the pathway with ease or see any large object several yards ahead. ♦ " What a romantic old place this is," said Clay- more, commencing the conversation. " Yes," replied the priest, " it is a grand old resi- dence and estate, and a grand old family inherits it, and for all I can trace or learn they have dwelt in it for the last two hundred years, and may they always continue, I pray God, Amen." They have neither been adventurers, usurpers nor oppressors, nor have they acquired foreign airs and notions, but like those fine old trees there, they draw there living from the soil, where having taken deep root, they dwell, as also in the hearts of the people, and as those trees are to the birds a shelter and refuge from the storm and cold, so are the D'Arcy family to the poor. If such men as Mr. D'Arcy were at the head of affairs, Ireland would have peace and plenty, and every man would have his rights, just liberty and privileges. He went to Dublin, continued the priest, a few years ago, and pleaded for poor O'Neill, and made strong representations, that there was gross injustice and ignorance of his case. But he was as good as 136 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. towld to go home, and that if he didn't have a care, his commission as magistrate would be of short consait to him. Thai? the counthry would not have pace until the hangman and convict-ship, gave a safe and a short passage to Paradise or Botany Bay to all of the same stamp. " That's thrue my Lord, said Mr. D'Arcy, a dead dog neither bites nor barks, neither does he watch nor defend his master's house and goods when he's wanted," " Now, Mr. Claymore, wasn't that sharp and brave of the squire ?" They were on the point of crossing a style into an old lane, when the priest started and caught hold of Claymore's arm and whispered, " did you hear any- thing?" " Yes, said Claymore, like the rumbling of a carri- age, I think it is coming this way." " God forbid," said the priest, as he blest himself, making the sign of the cross, and saying in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. " It's coming nearer," said Claymore in a whisper. " It is some carriage." " The divila one, ! Holy Mary, God forgive me. No mortal carriage thravels this bocheen," said the priest. Dark hedges of hawthorn rose up all around Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 137 them. The dark ivied walls of the old abbey, the grim old sentry of bygone days, stood in its silent spectral glory, still guarding the dead sleeping in its bosom, and under the shadow of its sacred walls. Its outlines could be traced at intervals. A feeling of awe crept over both those men, the man of peace and war. An unseen foe inspires more fear and anxiety than the seen. Nearer and nearer came the sound. It must be a carriage thought Claymore, as he peered through the darkness and up the old lane. Yes, here it is, it's upon them, as it were they perceive its shadows. They feel as if a film was over their eyes. They see nothing ; though they instinctively step back to avoid its wheels. It is past, it is gone. They hear its now awful rumbling, as it dies away in the distance, and melts into the solemn silence of midnight. Father Luke took Claymore by the arm and hurried from the spot, without uttering a word. The perspiration stood in great drops upon his brow. Claymore felt a clammy perspiration oozing from K 138 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. every pore, yet not experiencing fear, as will appear. In a moment .hey arrived at the priest's door ? an old housek -br opened it. As she beheld the terror-stricken : 3 of the priest she started back, and ejaculated : u loly Mary, what's amiss, your reverence ? " The priest thr< w himself into a chair, asked for a drop of water, • ch the old woman brought in a moment. Claymore stood by, motionless, not knowing what to say or do, whe 1, in a second, the priest groaned and cried like a did. After a little he said, " Mr. Claymore, da you'll not say anything about it to any of the f oiily. dear, dear, it's a sure sign, a sure sign ; some one doomed ! dear ! ,? " What do y >u mean, Father Luke ? " asked Claymore. "Why " said the priest, "its the dead warning." The old worn m looked terrified, and crossed herself and asked. " did you see the dead warning ? " " No," said ^ j/riest, " we did not see it, but it nearly ran ovei 3. It rowled by us so near that we almost felt it." " Well, Mr C] tymore, " continued Father Luke, " whenever that 3 heard some of the family have Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 139 always died at the Hall. Don't spake a word about it to man or mortal. Don't open your lips to any of the ladies, it might kill them intirely. You won't go back by yourself, will you, Mr. Claymore ? " " 0, certainly," he replied, " I am not afraid — the distance is so short." " Bigor, I wouldn't go back for all the goold of the Ingees," said the old woman. Mr. Claymore secretly felt he would walk around the road, which was not very much further. So he said " good night " and departed. He could not help wondering over the strange occurrence ; do his best he could not get rid of the strange feeling pro- duced upon his mind. What was the strange sound which he heard and which caused so strange a sensation ? Was it animal magnetism conveyed from Father Luke's touch, who was evidently strongly possessed with the belief in the supernatural, and this apparition in particular. And then he suggested to himself, that Father Luke was more affected by internal than external spirits. This explanation looked quite plausible, so he laughed to himself and soon arrived at the Hall. But resolved to say nothing about the matter, at least for a few days, and more especially as he recollected that Mr. D'Arcy was going to Galway 140 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. city the next day, on some official duty, and would not be home for two or three days. He felt that more than the ignorant or uneducated peasantry were superstitious, — he confessed he was not alto- gether free from it himself, he therefore concluded to be silent about the night's adventure. As he entered he found all had retired to their rooms except young D'Arcy, who sat smoking a cigar as he looked *over an army list. He looked up as Claymore entered, and, removing his cigar from his lips, he remarked, 6i I declare Claymore you look as if you were not well or had seen a ghost." " I just feel a little tired," said Claymore, " I will sleep all the better, if another of your pet owls does not disturb me with his lullaby. v In a fjw moments each had gone to his own room, and all except Claymore were sleeping soundly. He lay awake for some time, thinking now of one thing, now of another, of the strange noise he fancied he heard in the old lane and the priest hearing it simultaneously — no, before him. But at length the wearied brain and body were enjoying nature's sweet balm. » He slept later than usual, but, looking at his watch, he found it was nine o'clock, so he jumped Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 141 out of bed and was soon with the family. Mrs. D' Arcy asked if he slept well, as her son Henry had intimated he wste not quite well last night, but Claymore assured her he had slept soundly and felt well. After breakfast Mr. D'Arey started for the city of Gal way. Claymore and young D'Arcy started for some shooting, and bagged a fair amount of game. "On their way home D'Arcy playfully suggested to Claymore that they should call at the old abbey and see the relics of departed glory, or rather the guar- dian of them, the friend and protege of his sisters, old Kit Murrough, " she will tell you your fortune, you know," continued D'Arcy, " only you must look quite grave." As he concluded his instructions, they were at the stile, entering into that part of the old church- yard where the ruins stood, in which the old woman had taken up her abode. It was for the most part covered with ivy, which half hid the old gothic doorway, in which hung a heavy barred iron gate, for a door to admit the light and air by day, the bat and the owl by night, whose right to the place equally with hers she acknowledged — if not that theirs were superior, for they inhabited it before her. 142 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. The gate had hung there for centuries. It was and must have been coeval with the building, considering how it was hung ; all the cross bars were rivited to a great round bar, two or three inches in diameter, set down in a huge stone, which extended across the old door as a threshold, the upper end of this bar went into a hole drilled 'into a projecting portion of the great stone on which rested the ponderous stone which formed half the arch. In these two holes the gates revolved, about six perpen- meular bars passed through the cross bars, the remains of a ponderous lock remained attached, but was long since out of order with rust, a small chain and padlock however was doing service, and found quite sufficient to keep out intruders of any sort. Few there were who cared to go near the place by day and certainly none by night. At a little distance stood another portion of the old ruins, a couple of gables with gothic windows almost entirely hid with ivy, a small portion of the side walk too remained. Inside of this were some old, old, tombs, with almost entirely obliterated inscriptions or epitaphs. Near by stood the vault in which rested the bones of the D'Arcy family for ages past, and around in thick groups stood the grim and gray grave stones Scenes and Incidents in I sh Life, 143 like solemn silent sentinels on d day and night, guarding as well as pointing out die resting place of the peaceful dead, Erin's nobl sons and daugh- ters, now beyond the power of icting landlords, resting side by side, where loving hearts and* hands had laid them, hallowed by loving irayera and tears" To quote the lines written by a i Irishman with a slight change. " But little they'l reck if they 1 : them sleep on " " In the graves where each patriot laid them." In the midst of these mounds and monuments of the dead old Kit Murrought often walked and rested on a fine summer's day, or knelt in the ruins of the old chapel and prayed counting her beads, nor did she pray for herself alo ie, but also for the departed souls of the dead surrounding her, yes she prayed for all, she knew many, therefore feared none. On many a sunny day the old woman might have been seen taking her frugal meal off a tomb " stone for her table. It was to this old watcher of the dead, dwelling in these old remains of departed glory, our friends bent their steps. As they stood before the grated door, which was closed, the visitors thought how strong is the force 144 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Lift, of habit, otherwise why srTould she close this open grating. The grass grew green almost to the very door, so that their foot steps were not heard. At first they thought the old woman was not in, but a sigh fell upon their ears with words, the old woman was telling her beads. At length young D'Arcy gently called : — " are you within Mrs. Murrought," the old woman presented herself at the door, when she at once recognized the two gentlemen, Ce arrah musha but is that yoursel misther Henry and misther Claymoor, will your honner be plazed to kum into my poor place." " ! said D'Arcy, more important people than any of us, have dwelt within these walls before now, Mrs. Murrought," and he continued, " Mr. Claymore wished to visit you, he has heard the young ladies talk so much about you." The old woman went to a sort of an old fire place or an apology for one, took an old tongs, that had lost its head, while doing duty of some sort, and now, like an indigent pensioner, did occasional duty and kept guard over a limited chaos, primed and fired, and then, — as you were — or stand at ease, with this she poked up a few coals out of the ashes, Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 145 laid on a sod of turf, or broke one in two, blew away at the coals, laid on a few bits of sticks and soon had a blaze, which threw, a gloomy light over the cheerless and ghostly abode. Some straw lay in one corner of the apartment, with some bedclothes folded up upon it, rather after the military style, an old box did duty as a table, pantry and side-board combined, a three legged stool, which stood up on its feet fairly and squarely, on this the old woman generally sat, an old chair also stood or rather tumbled one side, as it had only three legs, but unlike the stool could not accommodate itself to circumstances, but like a great many people in the world, if they have not all they want or have been accustomed to,, tumble over and become neither useful nor ornamental. In this case, since it was a hind leg that was gone, D'Arcy placed it against the wall, balanced his weight upon it and made it do duty. The old woman sat upon her bed. An old bottle stood near what appeared to be the head of the bed. This did not contain what usually imparted spirits to an Irishman or occasionally an Irishwoman, but on the contrary what banished spirits. In short it contained some holy water. After a little trifling chat, D'Arcy said " now Kitty I want you to do a favor for me.'' " Arrah 146 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. allannah what could a poor ould forlorn crather loike me do for you— misther Henry, sure an I'd do any thing in the wide world for you sur." Well now, said he, " I want you to tell Mr. Claymore what is in store for him, what sort of a wife he is likely to get, and his luck. He is only an English- man, so you won't find him a hard subject, you have not light to see his hand now." " 0, begor, I'll get alight sur in a jiffy if that willplaze you.' ? As she spoke she stepped to a niche in the wall, took down a dipped rush and a holder, the latter is somewhat like a large pincers with one of its handles perpendicular and stuck in a small wooden block, like a crane standing on one leg, the other cocked out a little, with a slight weight at the end of it to make it drop down and so keeps the upper end or jaws shut, between these jaws the rush is placed, as it burns it is pushed upwards. The old woman held this over Claymore's hand, while with a knowing half comic smile she studied the palm, after a few minutes she muttered — as if to herself — " well that's quare, that's quare." " Well, what do you read there Kitty ? ' ? said D'Arcy, " come now tell it all, is it good or bad or both together, I'll bet a month's pay its the latter," " That I may niver sin misther Henry but you'r right as sixpence.' 7 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 147 " There, sur, look there, there's a harp, that's a sign of pleasure and happiness in sthore for you in Ireland, your honnor. But here's what bother's me entirely. Its a heart with a break in it, and more be token the point of it drops below the harp, which manes the happiness will be before the sorrow that's in that heart, which may all the saints and holy angels purvint, I pray this night, Amin. Hi-sh-sh ? " said the old woman as she shaded the light with her hand, as an owl wheeled in through the grating and out again, " the owls are after you Claymore " said D'Arcy, laughing, " what sign is that Kitty ? one made its way into Mr. Claymore's room a few nights ago," " sure Mr. Henry the poor crathers cant help it," and so the old woman relinquished his hand. Well, now, " Mrs. Morritt, replied Claymore, as that was the nearest he could go towards pronouncing her name, " tell us what is mister Henry's fate or luck, I want to hear," " not to-night, not to-night Mr. Claymoor, av ye pleaze, my eyes are gettin bad sur, sure I hope and pray a cloud may never darken his soul or heart any way." After a little more conversation the two gentlemen took their departure, but not without slipping the price of a grain of tay and sugar and a bit of tobaccy 148 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, into the old woman's hand. As they disappeared through the style of the church-yard, the old woman muttered to herself, " allannah machree, shure I wouldn't have towld him for all the goold of a black, God betune us and harm, sure an I heerd the black carriage a rowlin. It niver kums without a bringin sumthin that's not good, O wirrah, warrah struh, but what is to happen at all, at all, I'll tel the blessed priesht in the mornin. Claymore laughed at the whole thing, but would not venture to say what he thought the old woman was hinting at, namely that he was in love with one of the young ladies at the Hall, the harp, and of course some sorrow must come. But thought he why would she not tell the fortune for D'Arcy, and then he thought of his adventure the night before, and he now experienced a feeling, which he could not banish or shake off, and he really experienced a slight shade of melancholy. He related his introduction and interview with the old woman when he got home, as they sat at dinner, and laughed at what had occurred, so did the ladies. Dinner over they retired to the drawing-room, when Claymore requested the ladies to repeat the song of the daisy. " I think, Mr. Claymore, said Lucy, that our old Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 149 owlish protege at the abbey has exercised an influence over you, and brought on a slight attack of the sentimental melancholy, I hope she has not alarmed the soldier, with conj tiring up a ghost of a Samuel. Without any further hesitation Lucy sat down to the piano, whilst Mary stood beside her, and sang so sweetly. sad is my heart for my love's far away, And the primrose is gone from the lawn. As they sang, Claymore experienced such a thrill pervade his soul, and the soft sweet voice of Mary D'Arcy had such a touch of melancholy in it, that a tumultuous feeling glowed within his breast, and to which he yielded himself up, a willing and enamored captive, Mary D'Arcy was the harp to his heart, and held his destiny, without dispute. The old woman was right, his heart confessed it. Next morning after breakfast D'Arcy and Clay- more started again for a day's sport, duck and snipe were plentiful and a good number of hares were started, a fine well trained pointer kept close to heel, from time to time he swept ahead of them, as a snipe whirred up here and there from the spring or stream, bang, bang, went the guns of the sportsmen ; 150 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. now and again where the springs were low there walked up a mallard and duck, uttering the, — to the sportmen — well know^n and pleasant quack, quack, as they rose up in the air, as if to take their bearings, whan bang, bang, goes the pieces, the mallard is winged and comes tumbling down, then commences a chase, flap, flap, goes the drake, into a boghole here, swimming away, and into the sedge and rushes there, then up an old cut or ravine over grown with stunted willows, rushes and bushes and heather • suddenly the bird has disappeared, they put the dog on, he disappears as suddenly and as completely as the bird, D'Arcy presses on as does also Claymore, full of laughter and excitement, when suddenly the ground seems to give way under the feet of the foremost and in he tumbles head and heels into a pit, nor could Claymore stop himself until he was landed or rather the opposite on the top of D'Arcy, most unceremoniously. The latter was almost suffocated, as indeed was Claymore. Tiiey floun- dered about independently, catching at the rushes and bushes nearest, out of breath, they paused, up to their armpits, and holding on to some willows. " Faith that's an enchanted duck " said D'Arcy, a decoy. " By George your wrong said Claymore, that was a drake, we are the ducked, in earnest.'' Seen es and In ciden ts in Irish Life. 151 " Faith and be me soul you'l get a tashte more av it me bouchals, before yer a day oulther," says a gruff voice, from out of the earth somewhere, and simultaneously a terrible shower of dirty water on top of them, yet not a human being could they see. Claymore was in a terribly uncomfortable state of mind and body, and perfectly helpless. In an instant souce conies another volume of water, and another voice growled out as mysteriously as the first, as if from the bowels of the earth, " drownd thim the divils, and the divils scure to thim, its a small dhram and a straight gam they'l enjoy to-morrow in their coffins, and the divil mind thini." " Hold, hold there/' said D'Arcy. " Faith hould there yourself, and its little you'l want to hould on to when the sun is gone down as low as your mother's son is now, I think your houlden will be a small one soon, and the divil be your landlord, and give ye a long lase," when souce came another bucket of water on to their devoted and already well deluged heads, again D'Arcy remonstrated, and now feeling con- vinced there was r a mistake, he endeavored to hold a parley with his unseen tormentors or foes." " For heavens sake, man, devil or ghost, what ever you are, help us out of this hole." " Faith and it will be to help you into another, that you 152 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, won't jump out av so aisy, nor all at wausht, and where yez el be more on your manners, and make less nise, and botherashin, and I'll make bould to tell yez, that yez ill find on the inside of it more shtill than whishkey, and more betoken av yez dont find the worms yez want, the worms yez dont want will find ye, and the divil resaive the much sperits they'l find in yez." If D'Arcy and his companion in affliction did not see clearly with their bodily eyes because of all the mud and dirty water dripping off their devoted heads, D'Arcy saw mentally by the drift of the last speech of consolation delivered by the unseen, that they were taken for revenue officers in plain, but now very dirty clothes, and that they were in the vicinity of a still hole or cave, seeing that the voice talked about the still and worms, etc. We are not revenue officers, nor anything of the sort said D'Arcy, " I am young mister D'Arcy of Gurteen. and a friend, we have been out shooting. Help us out of this pit we are almost drowned and dead with cold." " by the tare of war, and the divil be from me, if its not misther Henry himself,'' said a voice, " blood-an-ouns," and a form of a man, half dressed, an old battered caubeen on his head, appeared Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 153 through the bushes, and while uttering, ejaculating and pronouncing all sorts of maledictions and anathemas upon his own head and hands, for not some how or other instinctively knowing who was there, while he was making butts of them for his wit and water. They were helped out with the greatest alacrity and profusest apologies. " Bigor Mr. Henry, your honner you ought to pray the divil cut the hands av me," " for helping us out, said D'Arcy," " begorrah no yer honner, but for keeping yez there in such disrespect." " If that was all we were in, said D'Arcy, we would be looking and feeling better than we are now, what will we do, Claymore, said he, we surely cannot walk home in this time-. ?" " Kum this way yer honners, and the devils look to me, what's kum over me at-all at-all, kum on sur, shtoop down there, shtoop down." Soon the leader was going on all fours and so were his followers, who presented a most comical picture, they looked half nigger, half tattood Newzealander, they could not resist laughing at each other. They saw a light glimmer as they dragged themselves forward, and soon they emerged into a small room or space, where a couple of tallow candles were burning, stuck in wo sods of turf. Here they L 154 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. found another man and a woman, who they found to be none others than Barney Lynch, the celebrated pothen distiller, his wife and son, " Kitty allanah, said Barney, the divil be from me if I havnt kilt misther Henry with a cowld faiver which he'll kum by, what'll we do wid him and Mr. Claymoor. They'll be kilt wid a cowld, bile up some wather acushla in a jiffy and will give thim a drhop of punch. Bigor yer honners ye better take a little dhrop in its shtate of nather, to hjate up yer blood, and warm yer heart." An old tin saucepan was set over some burning charcoal, so that no smoke would be created, which would betray the locality and warm the place. Barney's ingenious mind at once was at work, to make them comfortable as possible. He therefore suggested that they should divest themselves of all their clothes, which were anything but useful or ornamental, and that one of them should put on his big heavy frize coat and the other his son's and make themselves as comfortable as circumstances would allow, and he modestly added, that Kitty would lave the room while they were making the change, and that further more, his son Thady would run over to the Hall, and bring back some dry clothes. Well, they saw there was no help for it, so accepted Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 155 Barney's offer and acquiesced in his proposal, and urther, that they took a drop or more of the cray ther which was already working wonders in their heads and hearts. So Kitty retreated as gracefully as circumstances would admit through a different entrance from that by which they entered, which they found was another part of the establishment and out of which crawled the dog. The drake got his neck cracked for himself in true Irish style, and made stop his noise, as was at first threatened to themselves. They q lickly disrobed, and as quickly donned the great coats, and sat down upon a fine dry pile of heather. The son was dispatched for the clothes, his wife Kitty was recalled, to finish boiling the water, and they sat Esquimeaux fashion looking on and talking to Barney, about his luck and his work, which he considered all right, anything agin the government, " but you see sur this is not agin them, but unknownsht to them, and what the eye does not see the heart does not grieve for." Well the water is boiled, so they mix the punch in two old tin saucepans, Barney's wife produced some sugar, not loaf, never- theless no objection was made. The host and hostess was sharing all they had with them, they 156 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. took it in good hot condition, and found that their systems soon were in the same condition, further- more they soon found themselves in a more merry mood than their position and condition should have warranted. It occurred to D'Arcy, should the revenue officers light upon the place, while they were in their present state, and arrest all in the name of the Queen, and march them all off to the nearest town, what would be done. The possibility of such an event was not pleasant to contemplate by any means, what a story thought D'Arcy will it be for the mess. " What a laugh thought Claymore would the ladies have at us at the Hall, if they only saw us now." In less than an hour young Lynch was back with the clothes to the great comfort of the two guests of Barney and his amiable spouse. The latter took the hint and took herself away. The two gentlemen were congratulating themselves upon their good fortune when as they drew forth the different articles of raiment, lo and behold what should they find but tight knee breeches and short stockings, making them look like a species of highlander, however there was no help for it, but as it was now Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 157 dark they could easily avoid the eyes of the curious. However in memory of the occasion, as also a memento of the place, each took a bottle of the real mountain dew in his pocket and handsomely thanked and rewarded Barney and his partners for their goodness and goods experienced and enjoyed, crawled out of their romantic retreat, piloted by Thady, and put upon the direct path, they bent their steps towards home. They had not gone far before they perceived a dark body at some • little distance, they paused and soon a voice rang out " who goes there," " a friend," replied D'Arcy, when they were ordered to advance or be fired upon. Now our heroes were in a great plight. Here was a patrol, who now demanded of them who they w T ere, they gave their names and all particulars, but they were made the subject of much mirth, because of their very ungentle manly costume, as they looked more like the members of some secret society, and that they were trying to impose upon the patrol. They were therefore marched off to the nearest farmhouse, where a dance happened to be going forward ; terrified looked the assembled people as the armed patrol filed into the house and ushering in the two gentlemen in their peculiar dress. As their 158 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. new small clothes were buckskin they looked as if they had no nether garments on, so the girls screamed ; but being assured that there was no need of being alarmed, the patrol examined them and finding that the two gentlemen were not rebels or white-boys, they were released with an apology, but that did not lessen their annoyance at having been thus exposed. But D'Arey w T as determined to make the best of it, and as the potheen was still doing duty, the dance commenced, D'Arcy taking one of the most rollicking of the girls, danced a rattling reel, to the great amusement and delight of all, whilst Claymore stood and looked on, more like a mild picture of a half civilized Indian of the Mohawks than a lieutenant af the H. E. I C. S. To confess the truth he felt more abashed than D'Arcy, who having finished his dance, made his best bow, paid the fiddler, shouldered his fowling piece and marched. When they arrived at the Hall, each made a dash for his own room, and to dress as rapidly for a spoiled dinner as possible, each indulged in a hearty laugh as he surveyed himself in his looking-glass. D'Arcy thought he looked as if he was being prepared for an advanced degree in masonry. However there was no time for thinking, but still it rushed through his mind what sort of a picture Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 159 he must have presented on the floor dancing the reel. The commander of the patrol guessed where they had met their fate, as he was not unfamiliar with the place, with which it was not his duty to interfere, rather otherwise, nor was this an exception, for such were Lynch's best customers, and until very lately indeed, many jf the head and sub- constables and men of the constabulary enjoy many a bottle of good potheen, unpoluted by the brand or breath of an exciseman, whose exorcisms were considered baneful, and if the distiller of this genuine Irish mountain dew had any qualms of conscience they were dispelled by the fact that the rector and parish priest took many a galloi of the nectar. O the parish priest and good rector, Like patriots loved this Irish nectar, It helped their classic soliloquising, And lent a glow to their sermonising* At length D'Arcy and Claymore descend to the little cozy parlor where the three ladies are sitting, sewing or reading, a look of suppressed merriment is on the faces of both parties. " I suppose you have been dining out gentlemen, said Miss Lucy," with an arch look and smile, " I do not see why you could not have come home and dressed, and let us know what were your thoughts 60 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. or intentions, if they were at all clear to yourselves, and not to have kept us waiting for you, while you were enjoying yourselves up to your eyes in good cheer, and your faces all aglow with enjoyment, or like sunbursts, in the midst of your brilliant com- pany under the blaze of your fairy chandeliers. Do give us a full account of your romantic adventures," Mrs. D'Arcy sat smiling and looking at the two young men, and Mary smiled as she looked from Lucy to her brother and Claymore, and then cast down her eyes at her sewing. " By George, mother, said D'Arcy, we fell into a boghole, one on top of the other, I first and Clay- more on top of me, we were almost suffocated at the entrance to Lynch's still, as we were in pursuit of a winged mallard." Here Mary burst out into a low sweet laugh at the picture presented to her mind's eye. Her voice sounded as* sweet to the ear of Claymore, as the notes of the first cuckoo in spring, and to the great enjoyment of the little domestic party D'Arcy told the whole of the evening and night's adveiitures which convulsed all with laughter. Well, after dinner was over, D'Arcy proposed to Claymore that they attend the wake of a farmer named Thady Kelly, whose house was a couple of Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 161 miles across the fields, and an old tenant of the family. " It will be an opportunity for you to see an Irish wake, Claymore/' said D'Arcy, " if you are not too jaded after the day's adventures. The people will be much pleased to see us go over, and give us as warm a welcome as Barney Lynch did to-day 7 after he promised us a wake of our own after sun set." " I was thankful for the resurrection he gave us, at all events," said Claymore, provoking a laugh. After a little enjoyable chat and some songs the two adventurers once more started out, each with his black thorn in his hand. As they walked across the pastures and meadows, surrounded with grand old haw and black thorne hedges, with here and there a fine old tree dark with its thick body of ivy, now and then a green plover would swoop past in close proximity to them, and with a startling whirrh accompanied with its shrill cry of pee-e-e-wit ? pee-e-e, and responded to by many others in the distance, mingled with the peculiar whistle of the gray or golden plover. All combined to create a wierd and lonely impression. Especially to the thoughtful and romantic was there an additional charm lent to the time and place. In truth, after a short sojourn in the isle of saints 162 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. and fairies, not to speak of those born and bred there, the rnind and soul receive a grand baptism or inspi- ration, which makes life on the dear old soil co-es- sential to many, the love for both co-extensive. The short stay in the isle of the Banshee had already worked a great change in the soul and feel- ings of Claymore, He had determined upon making it his home, for neither India's nor England's attrac- tions had ever so possessed his soul and exercised such watching charms. The very exhalations from the upland or bog, mountain or moore, brook, river and spring seemed like aromatic drugs infusing a new life of feeling thoughts and aspirations. He was suddenly aroused from his reverie, by D'Arcy's voice addressing him, with " by George, Claymore, I think the effects of that mountain dew under the heather has not taken its departure from you yet, you are so silent, here we are near the place, did you not hear the wailing as the door was opened ? Poor old Thady when he used to go to the fairs or markets and take a little too much, as soon as he got home he started all the family, boys and girls, of which he had seven of the former and two of the latter, — to bring water from the spring well in tubs, buckets and pails, until everything was full. Then Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 163 he set them to filling up the turf corner with turf, not a soul daring to refuse or rebel. Then he sat down in the corner, declaring that as long as he lived he would show all due respect fur the sperits, who was owld friends of his and his father afore him. That the " good people," should have plenty of wather to make punch and turf to bile it, when the family were all ashleep. As the fairies are called the good people or gentry, by way of conciliation and further there was always fire left on the hearth for them at night. Then poor old Thady made one of the boys take down his flute off the dresser and play, and a dance was set going, and as the neighboring boys or girls would drop in, all joined in the dance ; old Thady laughing and cheering or snapping his fingers and throwing up his heels at intervals, all looked as merry as butterflies and oblivious to all care. Such was the history of poor old Thady Kelly, who was now no more. He had a brother Paudeen, who was known by the nickname of Paudeen Awneen. He had been evicted from his place a short time before, and had to take refuge in a sandpit, covered over with some branches, a donkey dung kish* stopped the entrance ; * A square wicker basket for a horse or donkey car. 164 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. in this sandpit, himself, his wife and five children were sheltering themselves, only from the wind, for all the rain poured in upon them; to prevent the fire being put out they scooped a hole in the side of the pit and made a hole through to the surface to let out some of the smoke. Here a strong industrious man and his family huddled together like wild beasts, not because of dishonesty nor laziness, but because he was a Eoman Catholic, and moreover the estate had been sold and was purchased by an Englishman who had made much money as a tanner, and was encouraged by the government to come over and dwell here. He was made a magistrate, aud at once set himself above any of the old families around. His servants were all English. He would not allow the priest to celebrate mass in chapel, barn, house or way side, he persecuted and prosecuted them. That was the humor of the times and order of the day. He applied for, and was granted a company of foot of an English regiment, stationed near his residence. This added to his importance considerably as also his insolence, so poor Thady Kelly was evicted to make way for improvements, and so has it been in the majority of cases, an honest hard- working peasantry were made beggars and rebels, the goad of some whimsical and greedy wretch. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Li/e. 165 Sometimes it happened that an Irish family, bribed by English gold and titles turned traitors, Judases, these were more to be despised than the others. The reader will pardon the digression or not, just as he likes. Arrived at Kelly's, they opened the half-door ? then touched the latch of the other and entered that room of all rooms, the kitchen, dining and sitting room, frequently the ballroom, at night a bed-room, containing as it did, and as does most of such houses to the present time — that piece of furniture so well described and in so few words, by the im- mortal Goldsmith. " The chest, contrived a double debt to pay,' 1 " A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day." Only instead of " chest of drawers " supply seat or lounge. On such a piece of furniture sat four or five men, the room was full from the door into the chimney corner, not a loud word was to be heard, nevertheless. The room was filled with tobacco smoke and the smell of whiskey punch, every man, woman and child had a new long shanked pipe in their hands. In a little room behind the dresser sat a com- mittee, the latter article of furniture forming the 166 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, partition for a bedroom which generally contained two bedsteads, foot to foot, but these were cleared out for the committee who superintended the to- bacco, pipes, punch and snuff distribution to all comers. The two gentlemen were at once led into another room behind the hob, — as the back and both sides of the fire place was called, — In this room stood the bed on which the corpse was laid, covered over with a white sheet ; a crowd of women mostly sat around the room, each wdth a measure of punch in her fist. As they entered at first and passed on into the inside room, a low whisper ran through the crowd and such remarks as " begor there is misther Henry and Mr. Clay moor, God bless him, and all his family, begor the poor w 7 ill niver be shlited nor forgot by any av thim, not all as one and as belike owld Mugunia over beyant there, the owld intherloper, the curse O Crommel an him, and all uv his loikes, nun av our foine dacent ould ginthry as takes up wid him at all at all." These contemptuous remarks were made in reference to Bareham, the English landlord. As D'Arcy and'his companion entered, the former walked over towards the bed to take a look at the corpse, when all of a suddent, as the Irish say, wile Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 167 and children drew around the bed, and commenced a most heart-rending cry, or keen, and at the same time addressing the dead, somewhat in the following manner : — O father, father darling, father asthore machree, if you only knew who was standing over you to-night how glad you would be to see him, and to shpake, to him av you could, — misther Henry, but shure its yoursel he'd loike to see to-night, — father, father, won't you shpake to as no more, no more, no more ! you were the kind, pleasant father to all av us, our hearts are braken for you father asthore, asthore." Here others in the room joined in too, all was heartfelt and heart rending, the voices mingling in most funereal cadences. After a while D'Arcy and his companion sat down, as also all the rest who had stood up upon their entrance. A little conversation ensued concerning the old man's death, etc., and now a general chat was indulged in. but a few moments before when the notes of wailing filled the house, a dead silence was observed by the assembled neighbors, a goodly number shedding tears. A man now entered with two tumblers of strong o whiskey punch, genuine potheen, from the very 168 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. place the two gentlemen were introduced to that very evening, and the thoughts of which rushed into both minds simultaneously, and as their eyes mechanically turned towards each other, in obe- dience to the passing thought, told as plainly as words could do, what was passing in each mind, which almost caused a broad grim on each face, especially that of D'Arcy's. As they had finished drinking their punch and were presented with pipes and tobacco, some friends from a distance entered the already crowded room, w r hen the two gentlemen slipped out to the kitchen and sat down with the crowd and were told about the last spree of poor old Thady, and how he cursed " by all the goats in the barrack, that a pipe o' tobacco would not be shmoked over his corpse until he drank the health of the young masther, misther William sur, the captain." But begor death kum all of a suddent your honner, and more is the pitty, he was an honisht dacent ould man and a good naybor and to the poor, misther Henry. Begor he loiked good music too ^ur, and to see the boys and girls dancing. Just then a big strong girl who was sitting on a low stool, her back against the side of the fire-place, and having fallen asleep gave a snort and drew the attention of those around, when as another up Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 169 current was in progress, one of the boys applied a good pinch of snuff, which went up freely, and the result was surprising, she sneezed and snorted and sneezed, and a titter ran throughout the whole lot, and as soon as the poor girl could speak, she said, " the divil's luck to ye, ye divils, which of yez did that ? " and she laughed good-naturedly over it. Suddenly a young man entered and whispered some- thing, which was soon communicated to all, and created a great commotion. D'Arcy asked what was amiss, when he was told the soldiers were marching down, and Bareham, the magistrate of Foxdell, was in the middle of them, and evidently bent upon some mischief or annoyance. Sure enough, in a few moments they had surrounded the house, and the captain with a sergeant walked in, and read a paper, signed by Bareham ; in the name of the king, ordering them all to disperse peaceably ? and that any person found loitering around, except the immediate members of the family, would be committed to jail. D'Arcy expostulated, and repre- sented that such was unjust and harsh, and most uncalled for. " I am subject to the orders of the magistrate ," said the captain, to whom D'Arcy was known. " Where is the magistrate ? " said D'Arcy, — " He is on horseback outside in the middle of the M 170 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. men/' said the officer. D'Arcy proceeded to the yard and represented the cruelty and injustice of such proceedings ; that the assembled people were the friends of the dead, and sympathisers with the bereaved and sorrowing family, and he was suddenly interrupted by Bareham with — " Who are you, sir, who dares to interfere with my authority ? I suppose some damned rebel or papist, the smell is rank, sir, begone." This uncivil, strutting speech incensed D'Arcy, who replied, " I should not have thought, sir, that your smell was so nice after your long and close acquaintance with the putrid exhalations of dog pelts. I presume your authority or commission is written upon a skin of your own tanning." " Who is that fellow ? arrest him," roared Bareham. " You need not be alarmed, sir, about identifying me ; I am Henry D'Arcy, of Gurteen Lodge, lieu- tenant in his Majesty's dragoons. v As he said this a cheer rent the air and another and another, with a loud voice immediately after ringing out, " Long live the D'Arcy's of Gurteen;' and then such a cheer, — it was tremendous. " Treason, murder/' shouted Bareham. The people had just come out of the house, had paused and heard D'Arcy's words ; he turned towards them and Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 171 advised them to disperse, so as to give no cause of complaint, Then, turning to Bareham, he said : 11 if you wish to arrest me, sir, you can do so, if not, you know where to find me when I may be required." Bareham made no reply, except to mutter some- thing between his teeth. His fury knew no bounds ; he was so terrified and confused at what just occur- red he knew not what to say or do, until D'Arcy and Claymore had turned on their heels and walked away, unmolested. The officer in command had ordered his men to fall in, and marched them off, Bareham keeping close with them, trembling with agitation and fear. u This state of things is beyond endurance," said D'Arcy as they walked towards home, " to think that a peaceable, honest people should be persecuted after this manner at the whim or freak of a low-bred dog like that fellow. The unfortunate people are treated as if they w T ere mere slaves, suspected and hounded continually. u If I were king, this would be one of the happiest nations on the gloBe, and defended by a brave people. Let them but enjoy religious freedom like rational beings — freedom and unrestricted trade, commerce and manufacture — restore the vast estates 172 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. swept away from our best and noblest families upon the merest pretext, and there will be universal peace and prosperity, " Ghirteen or any of our family have never required military to protect us nor anything belong- ing to us, and why ? Because my father acts kindly and trusts the people, appeals to their htoor and religious sentiments and teaching ; religion will ever control and influence the Irish, for they are essen- tially a religious people ; love and kindness will enslave them, — but the last drop of their blood will have to be spilled to conquer or vanquish them by force, compulsion or persecution. Just think of a man who, being clothed with a little power, can make a descent upon the house of the dead, and wantonly insult and disperse those harmless people, and outrage their feelings so wantonly. I felt indig- nant.'' " So must he," replied Claymore, laughing, " after your speech concerning his sense of smell. He will call you out.'' " Not if I called him lout/ ? said D'Arcy, rhyming ; he has been too long accus- tomed to taking care of his skin and keeping it whole, at the same time I think his shin is too thick to be easily punctured or pricked." They were now walking up the avenue and in a few moments were resting themselves and laughing Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 17 over the events of the night ; a little more and they were each fast asleep, induced no doubt by the exercise and experience of the day and night. The thrush whistles loud in the tree, The black bird is heard in the brake, The ploughman is off to the lea, sleeper. sleeper awake. The sun rises over yon hills, The frost sparkles under its ray, The landscape is lovely, and fills The heart full of life for the day. The pee-wit is out on the moor, The gray plover, too, is at rest. The dreary waste makes them secure, Until the sun sinks in the west. When darkness has shrouded the field, Or the moon bred shades in the dell, Then my soul to sombre thoughts yield, And poetry's magical spell. 17 1 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. CHAPTEE VII. RE AKFAST is scarcely over, the events of the ; night are being discussed, prophesied upon, or ^ laughed at, when the roll of carriage wheels is heard rumbling along the avenue, and soon a car- riage and pair halt at the door, and immediately a ratta-tat-tat-tat on the knocker. The coachman asks some one -to come and assist the gentleman out of the carriage. It is Mr. D'Arcy himself, looking pale and weary and sick ; a strange gentleman is with him in the carriage, soon the carriage is surrounded by loving faces and anxious. " William, love, what has hap- pened ? " says Mrs. D'Arcy. " Papa, darling, are you sick or has any accident happened/' said the girls simultaneously, and with alarm and anxiety depicted upon every feature. His son, Claymore and the strange gentleman, — who is a person of portly pre- sence and polished address, help Mr. D'Arcy into the house, and lay him on the sofa in the cosy breakfast parlor. His wife and daughters kiss him with loving tenderness, as they lovingly entreat him to say " what has occurred." He answers feebly and ten- Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 175 derly, " Do not bo alarmed love, I hope I will soon be better ; I am feverish, I fear I have caught cold, I think the sheets on my bed at the hotel were damp." During this little scene the stranger had with- drawn to the window recess and stood looking out upon the lawn. Mr. D'Arcy now looked towards him, and, addressing him as Sir Edward, introduced him to Mrs. D'Arcy and each of the family as Sir Edward Newhain of Fernmount, on the Munster or Tipperary side of the Shannon. He happened to be in Galway at the same time, on the same business as Mr. D'Arcy, and so kindly offered to see him home, as he felt so weakly, therefore hired a carriage with which he would continue his journey. He was warmly thanked by all for his kindness ; he remained until after luncheon, when he took his departure, with a request that he would be favored with a letter from time to time concerning Mr. D'Arcy's state of health, and with kind expressions of desire for the cultivation of a closer acquaintance, a feeling which was mutual. Mr. D'Arcy and Sir Edward had been acquainted with each other, officially rather than otherwise, for years. It was ordained that he was yet further to play the part of the friend, to at least some of the family of Gurteen, as the sequel will show. 176 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. The doctor was sent for immediately, who, when he arrived, ordered Mr. D'Arcy to bed directly, and informed young D'Arcy that his father was very ill, indeed. Claymore was much agitated, as the strange occurrence of a few nights before occurred to his mind. He endeavored to shake off the feeling as foolish ; but the strange noise, the priest's words and expressed fears, add to this, the old woman's strange conduct at the old abbey, concerning young D'Arcy, all had taken such possession of his thoughts that his mind was filled with fearful forebodings. He felt a strange gloom settle down upon him, which he could not shake off, do what he would. He accompanied the ladies in some walks and drives. He especially enjoyed actin gas Mary D'Arcy's escort as she visited some of the poor, and carried some little parcels of things made for them by herself. As they returned one evening from such a walk, and were crossing the fields, he offered his arm to her, which was as graciously accepted as it was gallantly and delicately offered. Had he touched an electric battery he could not have more certainly realized its current, than he did then the current o animal magnetism which pervaded his whole system Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 177 concentrating in the heart, and producing a most delightful sensation. His heart repeated what memory supplied from Moore's Lalla Rookh, — " For ! if there be an elysium on earth, it is this, it is this/' He walked on in silence for a little, because of the tumultuous feeling within his breast ; he could not trust himself to speak. He had something in his heart to say — he knew what, but did not know how. At length he managed to say. " Dear me, how time flies, a few days more and I must take my departure." " And, I am sure, delighted you will feel to get away from such a stupid place, and from such a savage people," replied Mary D'Arcy, w T ith a roguish smile playing around her mouth ; but she continued, " I expect you will not soon forget the land of owls, bogholes and wakes ; it is well that something should be imprinted upon your memory, that your friends should not be too soon forgotten." She paused, — so did he, then replied : " Go on, Miss Mary, go on, I am all attention." " No," she replied, a I am done. I am rector, you clerk, say Amen, or verily yes." " Nay," said he, " I am not in a hurry to leave w T here I am learning what so few people learn, yet that all should learn." 178 Scents and Incidents in Irish Life. " Dear rne, and what may that be ? you have kindled my curiosity," she replied, looking up at him, with a pair of eyes so soft, yet full of artless merriment. " It is to know myself," he replied. 6i To know/' he continued, " that it is more plea- sant to he commanded than to command, to be led, than to lead, to be slave than to be free." " Why I should not have thought that the song of a Briton would ever be : — ' Britons ever shall be slaves,' she replied. " Never," said he, " by force of arms, but by the Queen of hearts." " Pray who is she, and where is her realm ? " replied Mary. " You are, Miss Mary, you, none other, if you will know." " Me," she replied, " nay, goodness forbid, I had much rather wear the shamrock in my hair, than the crown of the Queen, and be what I am, an Irish country girl," " and," said he, "you may add, a charming tease, you are a capital fencer in more ways than one." " Yes, I won the brush the other day " — " And wounded a heart," he added. " Never touched it," she said, " for the dogs tore it up with the body, I Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 179 did not want the heart, it is never taken here. Do they do so in England ? ,; He was checkmated again, yet felt more confi- dence, so determined to make himself understood. He might not have so good an opportunity again? so resumed, " I can never forget my visit to Ireland, I hope I shall never regret having come over to it.' " If you fall into another boghole, or go to another wake, or to visit another fortune-teller you may." " Xay, let me assure you," said he, u I am quite satisfied with the latter, as she told me I had a heart in this country." " Dear me, I hope you have," said she. " I could have told you that much myself ; you would be rather a strange body without one, and, if she was speaking metaphorically, why I should be sorry to think my brother would associate with a heartless person, unless it is in England in another sense, which is not at all strange ; but she said she saw the heart in your hand, Mr. Claymore, that was a strange way to carry it, those old women are so strange, and say such strange things." Claymore was really perplexed, and in a confused state of mind, and a dilemma how to proceed, so he made a dash, like a forlorn hope, so began : 180 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. " Well, Miss Mary, if you will make me speak serious, and impart to you a secret, it is this " — " Pray don't tell me any secret, I may tell it without thinking." u Nay, just as you like then/' he said, " only let me tell it to you. " "V^hen I go back to England, I shall leave my heart in Gurteen, at the feet of Miss Mary Eleanor D'Arcy, which I trust she will not despise when I am gone," said Claymore. " What gallant fellows soldiers are ; I am sure I feel much complimented to think that employing you thus, I have conduced to your happiness in the least," she replied. " I have learned that my only happiness is to be near you, to be with you ; I lay my heart and affections at your feet, and trust you are not displeased with my making such an avowal, and that you are not indifferent about it wholly," said he nervously. " I am sure your visit has caused us all much pleasure, and, so far from being indifferent, I am sure it is the very opposite, and most sincerely trust that there will be sufficient attraction to cause you to return to us again." " Nay, that is not sufficient to tell me," said Clay- Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 181 more, " that will never satisfy me ; can I hope, as I crave, for a place in your heart, will you not forget me ? will I be thought of with affection ? " " I am not so unimpressionable that I should not realize your kindness and attention and appreciate it trust/' she said, hesitatingly, and less lively than at first. "l)o I weary you, or are you displeased with me ? " he said, in a melancholy voice. " No," was the simple soft reply. His heart bounded within his breast, that simple word spoke volumes, and he added in a most appealing, tender tone of agitation : "One question more and I am happy or miserable. Do you love me ? " There was a pause — an anxious silence. He paused and looked into her face, and said, " will I get an answer? 99 She whispered " Yes," u Yes," said he, " to what ? that I will get an answer, or that yes is my answer ? " " Both," she replied, in an agitated whisper that sent a thrill of delight through his whole frame, heart and soul. It was the first, the last, the only one, for only one such moment, one such ray, in a whole life, is shot from Heaven, their lips met, their hearts were as one. Heaven what lies before ? V\ hat does the dark future conceal ? Can anything so pure, so heavenly, so sweet, develop thorns or bitterness or grief ? Can man be mocked, 182 Scenes and Incidents in Irish JLife. or is he the sport of evil spirits ? Endowed with feeling, with senses to enjoy the most exquisite delights of the highest, holiest, purest that the mind or feelings of human nature can realize or enjoy in this life, — possessed of all this desire and power of enjoying those delights, he is set in the midst of them, nor is he forbidden to taste. He submits his whole soul and susceptibilities to these delightful influences which surround him. Feeling these are the creation of a good not an evil spirit, but of Him who is called God my Father, I am His child, — these are for my comfort and enjoy- ment, surely evil cannot lurk, an enemy cannot dwell here to my sorrow, hurt or destruction, — then, my soul, abandon thyself to bask in the sunshine of all that is heavenly. Fear no loathsome poisonous reptile ; trust in, and praise the Author of all good ; heed not, fear not the future which belongs not to thee, — the past we know, the present is for us to live in and enjoy. To Him, the All- wise only, are the pages or portals of the dark future open, — enjoy while you may. Such were the thoughts of these happy lovers, as they pursued their way, feeling the delights of possessing a mutual secret ; henceforth, the tele- graphic look of love conveys a volume of words, Scenes and Incidents of Irish Life. 183 the silent communication of soul with soul, not desecrated by the intrusion of other eyes or ears. " who would not welcome that moment's returning, "When passion first wak'd a new life thro' his frame, " And his soul like the wood that grows precious in burning, " Gave out all its sweets to love's exquisite flame." Moore. Mr. D'Arcy still continues poorly, and in a high fever, the doctor ventures to say but little. If asked, " How do you find the patient ? " he replies, " getting on as well as can be expected." Mr. D'Arcy is very patient, and says from time to time, " I wish William was here." When he sleeps he talks of or to William. They at once despatched a letter to William D'Arcy, London, if possible to get a few weeks leave of absence and come home with all speed ; it was naturally thought that the presence of his son William might produce a good effect. The Rector made his calls, and talked with the patient. The house was fairly besieged with the tenants and poor, asking how was the owld masther, offering up many a prayer for his recovery. Mrs. D'Arcy, Lucy and Mary each took her turn, together with the old nurse, to comfort and attend to his every want. 184 Scenes and Incidents of Irish Life. Henry looked anxiou yet tried to look and speak hopefully. Clay re did all that a loving heart could do to allay ars, to impart comfort and to inspire hope. At length the doctor one day sought an interview with Henry D'Arcy unobserved, and said with tremulous voice, and pale cheek : " Mr. D'Arcy, I fear the worst is at hand, your mother and sisters ought to have it gently broken to them. It is true his life is in the hands of a Higher Power, but I see he is sinking ; give him any thing he wishes for." Henry D'Arcy stood like a statue, he was unable to utter a syllable. The doctor's solemn words fell upon his ears like a thunderbolt shot from the heavens. The doctor continued with them through the night ; in the morning Mr. D'Arcy seemed to rally, and spoke to all cheerfully and affectionately. Once he drew his wife and daughters to him, and kissed them with greatest fervency, and said : " I may not be long with you ; God bless you all, and His holy will be done. All who come to ask for me bring them into me, let me see them." what pen can describe the scene. As each of his tenants would drop in, he said, " God bless and watch over you all when I am gone, for I have not long to stay ; my son I trust Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 185 will be kind to all, as I desired to be." Some of the poor beggars, who had been fed by him for years, came timidly to the door, looked at their benefactor and friend propped up with pillows, pale, weak and resigned. He whispered, " God help the poor." The hearts of all were bursting with grief. His poor wife and daughters hung around him with anxious and tearful face3, Henry paced up and down with aching heart and fevered brain, and he felt it was impossible that such an awful change should so soon overtake them, such a fearful cloud burst upon the happy devoted family ; he could not realize such a change at hand. The doctor may be mistaken, he wished his brother had arrived, he hourly looked for him and so his mind was diverted from the sad scene. Poor Claymore walked up and down with mingled feelings of sorrow and happiness ; sorrow, because of the probable loss of a noble friend, the father of the object of his affections, and the grief that would come home to all, and the likely scatter- ing of the happy little circle ; and happiness, because he felt one, in her sorrow and affliction would cling to him, seek and receive from him comfort and consolation, and finally be his for life. The day wore away, the sun had gone down behind the hills, as a great dark cloud seemed to N 186 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. rest upon their summits, and then break up into great floating bodies assuming every shape. Claymore was standing intently gazing at those clouds, as he leaned against the cut stone pier of the garden gate. The wind was rising or blowing in fitful gusts, the clouds changed form rapidly, and swept athwart the sky; suddenly a hand was laid gently on his arm, he started and looked around to find Mary D'Arcy standing beside him with a shawl over her head, " what are you standing here so lonely for ? " she said " what do you see in the cloud "? " I was looking said he, at those great clouds, and studying the different forms they assume." " I feel so sad," she said. " I have fearful forebodings that my darling father is not to be with us long," and she burst out crying. Claymore gently drew her towards him, and whispered words of loving consolation and hope to her, and walked into the house with her, and talked about the expected arrival of her brother William. How dreary the hours drag on at such a time, and under such circumstances. The hour of tea arrived but what a change ; but little was said, every face grave, sad, careworn, every eye restless, and at the slightest sound casting an anxious and alarmed glance in the direction whence it cime. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 187 Soon Mrs. D'Arcy went to the sick room and sat down by the bed. " I am glad you are there Mary, my love," he said, " where are the rest ? " " They are in the parlor, do you wish for any of them, she said, shall I send for them ? " " I just wish to know that they are all there, and," he added, " I wish William was here. If he comes not before the sun rises, yea very soon, I will be away. Mary darling we shall meet in heaven, yes I know we shall my love, we shall." Here poor Mrs. D'Arcy cried, as she leaned over him, and kissed him and in broken accents said, " William love, how can we live without you, I shall not long remain behind, when my light and love and companion is taken from me." He whispered to call the rest into the room ; one by one they glided noiselessly in and stood near his bed with bursting hearts. He looked at each and said, " I am near the close my dear children, this is our last night together in dear old Gurteen, the dear old home, we have been happy here, but now must part, a home is prepared for us elsewhere. Is that William V 9 " No love, I do not think so," said Mrs. D'Arcy. " Even so," said he, <'he is not far off, I will see him." It was a little past eleven, the dying man closed 188 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Lift, Ms eyes, as if resting before the final struggle, just then a faint sound was heard, Claymore glided out to see if any one had come, when he stood face to face with William D'Arcy. u I am so glad you arrived/' said Claymore. " How is my dear father," said the other ? " " Sinking fast," said Claymore, " he has been anxiously looking for you, he said a few moments ago he knew you were near at hand." William D'Arcy having divested himself of his great . coat, silently made his way to the room followed by Claymore. The dying man opened his eyes, looked up and saw his eldest son, then whispered, " thank God, he's come, all here, all here." William advanced and took his father's hand, and knelt beside his bed, buried his face in the clothes, and wept ; yes the manly frame of William D'Arcy trembled all over with bitter overwhelming grief as he knelt gently clasping his fathers' loving hand, . soon to be cold in death. u William, said the dying squire, I have only a few moments more, and all will be over, thanks to the Lord for sparing me to see you and speak to you, you are heir to the property, I give over to your charge your dear good mother, who is soon to b6 & widow, love her and care for her as she has you, Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 18^ watch over your sisters, be faithful, worthy the name and position, and God will bless you ; be kind to the tenants, you cannot do without them, nor they without you, distress not, nor oppress the poor, and may God Almighty bless you. Mary, Mary my love, take my hand, kiss me once more, Mary, Lucy, Henry, Claymore, God watch over " His eyes closed, his lips moved in a faint whisper " my sa- viour." One hand held his wife's, the other held his son William, a convulsive struggle and William D'Arcy of Gurteen was at rest, and oh ! the scene was heartrending. There lay that peaceful face calm in death, a loving husband and father, a kindhearted landlord, the friend of the poor, and his country. The servants cried and sobbed as they crowded around the door, soon the news spread like wildfire ; in every house there was grief ; men, women and children wept and wrung their hands in despair. As day began to break, dreary was the feeling of all. The sun seemed slow to cast his beams upon so melancholy a scene, and so sad a home. His rays, which at other times gladdened the hearts of the inmates of this old mansion, and diffused happiness all around, now shone in vain and unheeded. The black darkness of night, the ghostly bowlings 190 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. of the tempest, or its hoarse roar through the old trees surrounding the old mansion where lay the body of the dead squire, would have been as ac- ceptable as if, not more so than the rays of the rising sun ; the day wore on; hushed were the voices of all, th£ very birds seemed to forget their accustomed song. The children passed not on their way to school, the old schoolmaster had sent word he could not teach while all the country was mourning. The poor were seen to kneel on the road in the vicinity of the house, and pray for the repose of the departed soul. All hearts were lifted to heaven while every tongue said " God rest the dead." Poor father Luke was inconsolable, and felt that one of his most devoted and sincere friends was gone, " Yes," he would say, " the friend and defender of the poor persecuted Eoman Catholic," and he was right ; again and again did the deceased incur the displeasure of the government or Protestant party, because he saved the Eoman Catholic from molesta- tion in their homes and in their worship. A king might envy the position the owner of Gurteen held in the hearts of the people, he was more to them than king or constitution, as all such Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 191 men are or should be, nor would that be saying much. I very much think the same would be said to-day- If Ireland spoke through her own mouth, which she has not done for generations always occupying the position of a minor or worse. As night drew on the whole country seemed to wend its way to Gurteen ; to all the doors were open as also the hearts of the bereaved family, which never disdained the honest sympathy of the plain and poor. How simple the secret, and how easy of execution to win the hearts and affections of Erin's children. The house was filled, silence and sorrow pervaded the whole assembly. "With awestruck countenances the story of the dead- warning went from mouth to mouth. " The priest had heard or seen it, so had old Kit Murrought of the old abbey. The English gentleman, Mr. Claymoor, who was with the priest, heard and saw it, but was loth or afeerd to spake of it.' , Father Luke was at the Hall, as also the Rector and his wife ; they sat in the drawing-room together with many of the neighboring gentry. From time to time Mrs. D'Arcy silent and heart- broken passed to the room of death, gazed upon and wept over the peaceful face of her beloved, and as her tears fell upon the face of the dead she wiped 192 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. them off, only to shed them still more profusely, as she passed her gentle hand over the lovable, placid features that lay before her. Thus slowly and yet too quickly passed the night ; to-morrow meant the removal of the beloved dead out of sight, and additional weight to the woe, to make sorrow, blank loneliness, desolation, more desolate. True, the christian hope robs death of a pang such as no tongue can describe, nor christian breast experience, and that pang is a dreary hopeless hereafter, a separation that knows no reunion. Ah ! life too short and yet too long, How much to change we're given, Too short when life is full of song, Too long when hearts are riven. Brave sorrows out, is often said. Yet not so eas'ly done We cannot sing amidst the dead. Nor flowers bloom, lacking sun, Now have commenced the sunset and sorrows of the Gurteen family, what a blessing that time keeps shut the dark portals of the future. Full of hope we press on from scene to scene, until the curtain falls, and we fall through the trap-door of the stage, of life into the dark abyss of death, as unconcious Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 193 as when nature placed us upon the same stage some years before. Through the night, a carriage and pair arrived at Gurteen house. The occupants of the carriage were Sir Edward Xewham of Fernmount and his wife. The latter a matronly lady, with the kindest face imaginable, of the most graceful dignity, without ostentation or cold hauteur of manner. Her meeting with Mrs. D'Arcy was of that unaffected sympathetic^ nature which is so precious to the grief-stricken heart ; she mingled her tears with those of the weeping widow, and poured out her sympathetic heart into her ears. Early morning was quickly succeeded by noon, and noon by the hour appointed for the funeral. The gates of Gurteen were wide open to admit the continuous and almost unbroken stream of people from all parts, on foot, in carriages and on horseback, but amidst all these no nodding plumes of hearse were to be seen, to add to the sorrow, distress and oppress the already overburthened heart. A request had been conveyed to Mrs. D'Arcy to permit the hands of his loving and devoted neighbors and tenantry to carry him to his last resting place, which was as lovingly and unhesitatingly complied with, as the feelings which prompted the request were fully appreciated. 194 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. Soon the Hall door opened and the coffin contain- ing the remains of the beloved squire, carried by six men appeared ; no sooner had they emerged from the house than a crowd of men and women surrounded the coffin ; and ! such a piercing cry as rent the air, it made one's heart stand still. Then a prolonged wail succeeded by another piercing cry, as a woman leading her little children by the hand begged to get near the coffin. This was Mary Kennedy the widow of poor Kennedy who a short time before, while lying upon his death bed had been ejected from his little home by a cruel and unfeeling landlord, and that same little home pulled down before his eyes as if to add torture to the mind of the dying man ; it will be remembered how he was cared for by the family at Gurteen. The bearers stood still, while the poor woman wept, moaned, wrung her hands in utter grief and despair, when stooping down she kissed the name upon the plate of the coffin, and sobbingly recounted to her poor weeping orphans what kindness the deceased had shown their dead father. This scene was one never to be forgotten, it was also a convincing lesson and sermon upon the power of love and practical sympathy. Again the mournful procession moved forward Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 195 slowly, hundreds of loving hands eagerly and tenderly took turn in carrying the beloved remains. On moved the sad crowd to the wailing cadences of the mourners, who were neither hirelings nor en- gaged keeners, mourners by proxy there were none, nor any sympathetic absent-presents by proxy, by which I mean the hollow mockery of English society, where horses, empty coaches and coachmen represent the sympathetic owner who may be, at the same time, hunting or carousing elsewhere. First walked those who were helping to carry the dead, then came the carriages, jaunting cars, gigs, common cars and horse- men. Such a length was the procession that the last persons had not moved one quarter of a mile, w r hen the coffin was being borne through the church- yard gate. The entire distance being about two and one half miles. The service in the church being over, the body was removed from the sacred edifice, and soon the bearers stood before the dark "open door of the old vault, for the completion of the funeral service, ere the remains of William Henry D'Arcy of Gurteen were committed to its cold, dark, dreary bosom '> there to rest beside his ancestors of generations agone. At length the coffin and bearers began slowly to 196 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. disappear from view, the members of the family and near or intimate friends following. On a stone bench of masonry ranged around the interior, rested a number of coffins containing the remains of the ancestors of the family, sleeping their last sleep unmoved by and indifferent to the last accession to their grim numbers. " It is a solemn gloomy abode," thought Claymore, as he gazed upon the array of dead. The coffin beside which Mr. D'Arcy was now laid had on it the following inscription : — HENEY DE COUCY D'AKCY, DEPARTED THIS LIFE The 4th day of May, A.D. 1535. Aged 74 years. This member of the family must have lived in evenful times, and have witnessed and been cognizant of ^terrible struggles and intrigues, cruelty and wrong, in the name of religion and right. What prostituted words in relation to England's dealing with Ireland, if the multitude of histories and historians, religious, political or constitutional are to be trusted. Poor devoted Ireland was then as now the theatre of contending factions, torn and distressed, betrayed and bought by traitors and usurpers of the most unprincipled class, robbers and state wolves. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 197 But, thought Claymore, " here the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. The op- pressor and oppressed here no more feel the motions and power of passion, but like the dead upon the battle field the conqueror and the conquered lie calm and peaceful side by side, regardless of the is- sues of the day." Intently gazing upon the silent row of dead, he stood buried in reverie, nor did he perceive that he was almost alone, when Father Luke who stood beside him, quietly touched his arm, as he said, " come away Mr. Claymoor, come away, we can do no more, God rest his soul, Amen. This is a lonely home for such a friend of the poor and of his country. For one who housed the homeless and fed the father- less and widow, well miss him, alannah, we'll miss him." As soon as the good priest and Claymore emerged from the vault, the great flag stone of the door was fitted into its place, and the funeral procession dispersed each to their respective homes and house- holds, to talk over the sad scenes of the day, but the dead slept his last sleep, and returned not to that home and its inmates he loved so well. His vacant chair must stand unoccupied whilst a dreary blank pervades every heart, and a dark cloud hangs over the o ic e cheerful hearth and festive board. 198 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. The last sympathising friend has said adieu, an awful oppressive silence reigns in and around the old home of Gurteen, the family move to and fro like shadows in the regions of the dead. Claymore feels wretched, knows not what to do with himself, as he aimlessly strolls about the place, until at length he finds himself unconciously crossing the fields on the path leading to the church-yard. He felt as if he had just lost a father too, for indeed he had never known one, —his father having died when he was only an infant, — but the father of the object of his heart's warmest affections had been removed, so that their joys and sorrows were mutual from henceforth. At all events the atmosphere in the vicinity of the old abbey was more congenial to his feelings than anywhere else just then, and in his present mood he desired to be alone ; he suddenly paused at the stile leading into the church-yard, where he could see the old abbey, the vault within which he had been standing a short time before, and the hawthorn cross so care- fully trimmed every spring, as it stood with outstretched arms or cast its shadow over the surrounding dead ; a dull twilight preceded the approaching darkness, suddenly a glimmer of light arrested his attention, it proceeded from the old Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 199 abbey, he was surprised if not startled for the moment, when it occurred to his mind that old Kit Murrought was the author of it, and that he had forgotten that there was one other living being beside himself in that lonely place. But few if any would now care to be in the vicinity of the place. His whole soul and mind were absorbed by the scene, and he stood motionless dwelling upon it. ! the moon is gone down in the west, And her last silver ray is withdrawn From the top of the dark mountains' crest, And the shadow is gone from the lawn ; Yea the church-yard looks awfully weird, And the tomb-stones rise silent and dark, If the ghosts of the dead e'er appeared, I would look for the phosphorent spark. See the old abbey wall looks so black, In its dark ivy robe being clad, And the old elm trees at its back They are bowing their heads as if sad ; O ! the feelings that steal through my heart, As I linger to gaze on the scene, Neither pencil nor tongue can impart, And a longing for something is keen. Yea the body entrammels the soul And I crave for to see the unseen, Or some spirit to me would unroll Whst'a to come and some things that have b?2^. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. ! could I but soar off and away, To those empyrean realms beyond, What an essence would then be this clay, By a touch of God's magical wand ; Through the dark stony door of yon tomb, I must pass ere that knowledge I find, And unconscious must lie in earth's womb, Until heaven and earth are combined. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 201 CHAJPTEE VIII. ^fr^HE time for the departure of Henry D'Arcy tM^ and Claymore has almost come ; Mary D'Ar- ^^^cy's heart has an additional sorrow weighing upon it in consequence. As she, one day, took a stroll to visit some of the poor and sick, Claymore accompanied her, and as a consolation assured her he would see her again soon, as he intended exchang- ing into some of the regiments stationed in Ireland. He was to leave next day, and as they walked along, b3th were silent for a time, Mary D'Arcy broke the silenc 1 by remarking, " How short the time seemed since her brother and he arrived, yet how fraught with importance was the change which that short time has brought about." As they neared the hall a lover's farewell was exchanged with mutual feelings of reciprocated love. We need not dwell upou the feelings which pervaded each heart of that household ; it can better be imagined than described. The past, present and future shot arrows athwart the heart. The night is gone, a id the day has arrived, and the hour for the departure of the two young men. 202 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, As Henry kissed his mother and sisters, his manly heart was bursting with sorrow for the loneliness he knew they would experience when he was gone, and he knew his brother could not remain very long after him. As the carriage left, a last adieu was waived, and the visit of those two young officers was ended, and what a contrast to its commencement, so at least thought Claymore. Letters announcing their safe arrival in London, and also containing words of consolation,were received soon after at Gurteen. Claymore immediately set to work to bring to bear all his available influence at the Horseguards for an exchange, in which he was signally successful ; and scarcely three months had elapsed when he was gazetted as Lieutenant to a regiment then stationed at Athlone. This intelligence was received with pleasure at Gurteen, with secret delight and thankfulness by Mary D'Arcy. William D'Arcy had returned long since to head- quarters, having appointed an agent to manage the estate ; this was a matter of importance to the tenants, regretted by all, and deplored, notwith- standing that they had no reason to apprehend Scenes and Inciden is in Irish Life, 203 anything but kindness raid most considerate treat- me nt. They had not been accustomed to any one standing between them and their landlord, and now they were notified that tho rents would be received at he office of the agent, and not at Gurteen, as was the custom in days past when all w 7 ere entertained right royally as has teen already described. The winter has gone by and April showers and sunshine are combining to enliven and beautify the landscape, all nature seems instinct with life. The birds are singing merrily, and mating, andthe voice of the cuckcoo is listened for with great desire and delioht. o The hearts of all seem to feel that the last dark cloud of winter has rolled by, and its gloom and desolation dispelled by the voice and smile of spring. One day a carriage drove up to Thirteen, in it was Claymore, whose company being now stationed at Banagher, he was enabled to drive to see them. This was a source of much pleasure to all, but he found Mrs. D'Arcy quite broken down and looking worn and feeble. He remained at Gurteen for a couple of days, when he returned to his company. Thus was he enabled to visit Gurteen from time to time. 204 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. Claymore enjoyed himself fairly as much as an ardent lover can ba expected to do when absent from the object of his affections. Within about three miles of Banagher, on the banks of the river Brusna, stood a grand old castle called Garreen castle, the residence of a major O'Moore, a fine specimen of an Irish gentleman, somewhat like the late Mr. D'Arcy, only more blunt and more blustering. He kept open house and entertained to excess, was never without visitors, a person of about fifty, portly and fond of hunting, always possessing a number of splendid horses for saddle or harness, a keen sporstman, whether in the hunting field or with dog and gun. His wife was a most amiable and agreeable person about ten years the major's junior. They had a family of two sons, aged eighteen and twenty years respectively ; many a day and night did Claymore spend at Garreen castle, to fcher with some brother officers. A long avenue of a mile between the first and second gate led to the castle ; great beech, chestnut and ash trees lined the avenue and dotte the demesne with its tufts of daffodills and other flowers scattered here and there. After passing through the second gate and sweeping round a curve you came in front of the castle, whose turretted walls towered Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 205 above, and seemed to nestle amongst the grand old trees thickly surrounding it. The lawn in front was profusely covered with flowers, the whole scene and surroundings was that of sequestered peaceful- ness, too much so for the major and his wife, but that was remedied by the unceasing flow of visitors, and oft recurring dinner and other parties, at al- most all of which Claymore was present, when he was not at Gurteen, where he was as often as circumstances would admit. Thus the summer rolled by and twelve months have elapsed since the squire of Gurteen was laid in the tomb. Mrs. D'Arcy and her two daughters are ^ one to London, and Gurteen house is shut up and iQiiely looking, a couple of servants only are in charge ; William D'Arcy insisted upon his mother and sisters having a change of air and scenes. A ball is given by Lady Benediction to which William and Henry D'Arcy as also the ladies are invited. The scene is a grand and gay, one and at which the elite of London society are present. Henry Claymore is present and having danced with Mary D'Arcy left the crowded ball-room where they could converse alone and uninterrupted, when Mary D'Arcy in reply to a question put by Clay- 206 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. more respecting their pledged love and union, unfolded to her lover with much emotion and nervousness that she feared opposition or interference on the part of her elder brother, but assured him she would brave all for his sake. Lady Benediction being an intimate friend of Claymore's, he consulted her and unfolded to her his passion for Mary D'Arcy, so she advised an honorable unfolding of the matter to Mrs. D'Arcy, asking her consent and blessing, which was done, and the result was favorable as could be desired ; but when Mrs. D'Arcy unfolded the matter to William D'Arcy, he most strenuously opposed it, as Claymore had but little more than his pay as lieutenant, whilst on the other hand, his sister had a considerable fortune. With all this Lady Benediction was made acquainted by Claymore. The week following there was another ball to which the D'Arcy s and Claymore were invited. The latter was treated with coldness by William D'Arcy, not so by any of the rest of the family. There was present at the ball a Miss Fitzgerald of Ferndell, county Wicklow, and her brother, descended from a noble family, but great and devoted patriots, Eoman Catholics ; she was a most pious modest and charming girl, a strong friendship existed Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life 207 between themselves and the D'Arcy family. To Miss Constance Fitzgerald, Mary B'Arcy went and confided her little secret, with a request that she would aid and accompany her in eloping with Claymore ; that they were going to leave the ball-room as the clock struck one, and were proceeding to Lady Benediction's until arrangements were made, and her elder brother s consent obtained. Into this little plan Constance Fitzgerald entered with true Irish spirit and sympathy. As the clock struck one the two ladies were standing in an ante-room closely wrapped up so as not to be recognized by any who should meet them ; suddenly Claymore entered, his face was flushed, Mary DMrcy's heart was beating hard, so was Claymore's. He offered to each of the ladies an arm and descended to a side door to avoid encountering any person ; a carriage was waiting, the ladies entered Claymore following, the door of the carriage was closed by a friend and away the carriage dashed. Gerald Fitzgerald having seen the lovers off, — for it was he closed the carriage door, — returned to the ball-room and remained near Mrs. D'Arcy and her daughter Lucy, so as to afford information at the proper time and save any unnecessary worry 208 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. or excitement to those ladies, so soon as Mary D'Arcy would be enquired for. It was some time however, before Mrs. D'Arcy said to Lucy, " that she* wondered where Mary was," Lucy replied "that she saw her last dancing with young Fitzgerald." Seeing him standing quite near, looking dreamily at the dancers as they glided to and fro, Lucy approached him and asked " if he had seen her sister within the last few moments," " yes " he replied " I saw her in company with my sister and Mr. Claymore in the drawing-room. I think Lady Benediction knows where they are/' and he gave a knowing glance at Lucy as he emphasized the last word. Lucy turned pale, as she conjectured his meaning, and returned to her mother, saying that " Mr. Fitzgerald said he thought Lady Benediction was with Mary last. The latter lady was just then passing, leaning upon the arm of a gentleman, when Mrs. D'Arcy enquired for Mary ; Lady Benediction said " come to the drawing-room for a few moments." Suiting the action to the word, she touched young Fitzgerald playfully with her fan and said, " your gallant services sir are required to take Mrs. D'Arcy to the drawing-room," which was delicately and most politely performed. Here her ladyship informed Mrs. D'Arcy that Scenes and Incidents In Irish Life. 209 love and elopement was what she had to commu- nicate, and that the lovers would more than likely be found at her residence, which was always open to the honorable refugee, and more especially, her particular friends and proteges, therefore she advised resignation, loving acquiescence and consent, on the part of Mrs. P'Arcy. Of all this the latter assured her after she had recovered from her surprise. It was from her eldest son, the captain, the opposition mainly proceeded. The next step was to break the news to him and reconcile him to what was inevitable. To him a message was despatched, requesting him to come to the drawing-room, where her lady- ship and Mrs. D'Arcy awaited his coming. He arrived after a few moments. When informed of the occurrence, he seemed thunderstruck, but overcoming his feelings he replied, " let her take the consequence." A little later a happy group were assembled in Lady Benediction's drawing-room ; composed of her Ladyship and her daughter, Lady Constance, a beautiful girl of about twenty. Sir Edward Newham, Mrs. D'Arcy^ Henry and Lucy, Fitzgerald and his sister, the two lovers and a clergyman. The ceremony was soon over, and Henry Claymore 210 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. and Mary Eleanor D'Arcy were made one, u for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, till death us do part.'' Next morning they were on their way to Ireland. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 211 CHAPTER IX, The curtain draw, ! Time From o'er thy portals dark. Say what does Heaven assign Yon white-sailed lover's bark. Its silken ropes and sails, "White as the driven snow. Vibrate to life's soft gales, Like music sweet and low Which steals upon the heart, And ravishes the soul. Begotten not of art, — Her destiny unroll. "What ruthless wave or rock Will rage, or hidden lie, Love's peaceful course to shock ? ! let me but discry. What ruthless pirate's craft, With sails and rigging black, With poisoned arrow shaft, Will hang upon its track 1 A face looks o'er the prow It is the hopeful bride, With lilies on her brow, Reflected in the tide. 212 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. The bridegroom holds the helm, Nor heeds yon lowering clond Tho' bright his rule and realm, His bark 'twill soon enshroud. Claymore with his bride is quartered at Banagher, many are the visitors who call 5 among them Major O'Moore and Mrs. 'Moore. Some adventures were enjoyed now and again. Amongst them we will mention the following. The major commu- nicated to Claymore the fact, that he had reliable information that a meeting of rebels would take place at a little lonely cabin, remote from the highway or any other residence. It was a deserted cabin and stood upon a desolate moor surrounded by a few willow-trees and furze. The country people all shunned the place by day or night, as it was said to be haunted by the ghost of an unfor- tunate man who was murdered a short time before in the vicinity. However, the night that the descent was to be made upon the cabin for the purpose of capturing those who were to assemble there arrived ; Claymore told off a noncommissioned officer and four men for duty. They were to march to Garreen Castle after dark, whither Claymore preceded them with his wife. The night was dark as Erebus, accompanied by fitful gusts of wind, with some drops of rain. Scenes and Incidents in Lish Life. 213 When the non-commissioned officer and his men arrived, they were ordered into the kitchen, where they were regaled, primed and prepared for the adventure. They were not to move until a late hour. A huge fire roared up the chimney of the old kitchen ; the picture was in striking contrast to the scene without. Care was taken that the men should not receive more whiskey than was good for them, or it might incapacitate them for what lay before them. The major was to accompany them, as also his two sons, for the sake of the adventure ; the elder one acting as guide. The cabin lay about two miles off, and not far from the banks of the Kiver fjrusna. As the clock struck ten, the party prepared to move. Claymore, the major and his two sons each had stuck in his belt a brace of heavy pistols, and carried a stout stick ; the soldier? their mus- kets and side arms. The company moved off in single file, led by young 'Moore. After about half an hour's march, they entered a piece of wood, through which they moved slowly, cautiously and silently. Before emerging therefrom a halt was made. Young 'Moore, the major and Claymore mwed forward to reconnoitre, 2 14 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. and arrange for the final movement. As they stood on the edge of the patch of wood and looked out or endeavored to look across the dreary moor, not an object could be discerned fifty yards ahead, and the wind howled in fitful gusts through the trees. The whole surrounding was that of dreary desolation. Young O'Moore explained the position of, and the easiest route to reach the cabin unheard or unseen. It was resolved that the little party should deploy to the right and left, and close in around the cabin, but to halt within sight of it ? all moving cautiously, stooping and creeping. At a given signal a rush was to be made simultaneously. The Major, Claymore and the Sargeant for the door, which they were to carry before them if possible, when two of the men were to come to their assistance, leaving the other two men and the young O'Moore to guard the outside. All this arranged, the Sargeant and men were brought up and informed of the plans agreed upon. Silent as spectres the little party moved forward carefully feeling the way. The gusts of wind which sw r ept across the moor drowned every noise, if any were made. Occasionally a plover swooped by with a shrill cry of alarm, which startled one. Such a cry was soon heard, low but natural as if the bird Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 215 was at rest. This was repeated the second time. Every man prepared himself, *ready for the third call. How excited one becomes upon such an occa- sion. The heart throbs violently, and the pulse beats rapidly. Soon the third would be given, there in front of them stood the little cabin, barely distinguishable through the darkness. Not a sound could be heard to proceed from it. All was still as death, and dark as the tomb. Claymore was doubtful whether their adventure was not a wild goose chase after all. He turned toward the major, who, while he had the most implicit confidence in the information he had received, was also beginning to experience a similar feeling, when the third signal was given, then there was a slow movement forward by all for a moment, so as to come near as possible. When suddenly the major, Claymore and the Sargeant rose to their feet, made a forward rush, Claymore striking the door first, the other two pressing upon him. Before their united force the door was car- ried : the surprise was as terrible as sudden. The scene was one never to be forgotten by eithe r party. Around a table set in the centre of the room, sat a number of men feasting. All wore certain o 216 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, badges or sashes. One who appeared to be the cap- tain or leader, wore* a green sash across his breast he was in the act of picking the leg of a roast goose, when Claymore levelled his pistol at his head, at the same time thundering out an oath, that if he took that bone from his mouth, he would blow his brains out. In this ludicrous position sat this un- fortunate fellow. All were so taken by surprise that they had not time to move hand or foot, until they were hand-cuffed and secured. The feast was not half finished : the bottles of potheen scarcely half emptied tood on the table. So that roast goose, fried bacon and eggs, &c, &c, with the blessed drink had to be abandoned. And the whole party were soon marching on the way back to the castle. In one fell swoop the hopes and projects of those unfortunate patriots were overturned, and their own freedom if not their lives, as good as- gone from them, and all through the treachery of some base miscreant of an informer. These unfortunate fellows were tried at the following assizes, and transported to Van Diemen's land for various terms. B hanging ai d transportation the sons of poor unhappy Ireland know England best. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 217 Claymore was, after a little time, removed to Por- tumna, a little town, mean and dirty looking, on the banks of the Shannon at the head of Lough Derg, on the county Galway side. Gurteen was once more the scene of gay parties and gatherings, upon William D'Arcy's entrance into it as heir to this fine old estate ; great bon- fires blazed up in various quarters, around which dancing and drinking and shouting: were indulged O O CD O in by the tenantry and neighbors generally ; for all the drinking the heir paid as well as the pipers for their expended wind. The heir of Gurteen with his mother and sister visited the bonfire which was near to Gurteen Lodge, and danced with some of the people, being warmly cheered, and all sorts of kind wishes ex- pressed for the young master, the old mistress and Miss Lucy, and many wished poor Miss Mary was there. William D'Arcy was a good fellow, as the world uses the term. He was most extravagant, and did not seem to know or think there was a limit to his money or means, and after this fashion he lived. He borrowed from or rather encroached upon the fortunes of his two sisters to keep up his extrava- gant style oi life ; as ) ears rolled by his golden sand p 218 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Lift, ran out, and he was at length unable to* pay his sisters ? fortunes without raising the money on the estate, and heavily involving himself. Otherwise all things look bright at Gurteen Lodge. Whatever worry and trouble William D'Arcy may experience he hides it and looks as gay and dashing as ever. Claymore and his wife visit Sir Edward New- ham of Fernmount, where a true Irish welcome always awaits them both. They have got a eouple of sons, Francis William and Henry Frederick to bless their lives. One day however as they uncere- moniously paid a visit after an absence of some weeks, they were surprised to find that instead of alighting at the hall door they were admitted cautiously into a court-yard through a small door in the high wall which surrounded this court- yard, the door being carefully locked and bolted after them. In like manner did they enter the old mansion. Both Claymore and his wife felt surprised, but betrayed no signs of surprise ; as they entered, however, they were met by Sir Edward and his wife who welcomed their visitors most warmly, Sir Edward saying in an outspoken way : " Captain if an Englishman's house is his castle, it is quite fair an Irishman's should be the same to Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 219 him. Let me assure you and Mrs. Clay ra ore we keep open house and hearts as ever, only the way of access is a little more difficult ; we are like a ship in a storm with the seas running high, the hatches have to be battenned down so as to prevent ship- ping unwelcome visitors. I have a little trouble with a few creditors, who captured me a few days ago and took me to Bonis — O'Kane — and while the rascally bailiffs were rejoicing in securing their bird some of my friends who came in to see me passed me out in disguise. They had Toby waiting for me near by, I mounted him and dashed off for home ; I had not left five minutes when the rascals missed me and dashed after me. It was a splendid run as ever you saw, captain. They had each secured a horse, and kept in sight of me the whole way, the country cheering. After I would pass, the boys would place bars across the road which the bailiffs had to jump. They were close to me, the devils ; when I came to the avenue gate it was shut, an awful jump, I turned Toby towards it, and he cleared it like a bird. Upon my honor I think the old boy knew what was depending upon him ; when the bailiffs came to it, one fellow had to dismount to let the other through, and I baffled them, for you know they dare not force bar or bolt, 220 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. nor capture me before sun rise or after sun set. So that explains all. Mr. Claymore I am so delighted to see you ? we were feeling so lonely ; as we cannot have all the company we could wish, we are bound to see all we can, more"especially our particular ones, such as yourselves. Have you heard the news from England, concerning our mutual friends Lady Benediction and her daughter and Count Con- tumello, an awful scandal ? " " What is it ?" said Claymore ; and Mary looked enquiringly at Sir Edward and then at Lady Newham. " Well, it appears Lord Benediction willed certain property to Lady Constance should she marry Count Contumello, to whom he was greatly attached for some time before his death ; no one seems to be able to fathom this strange arrangement, so one day last week, the Count, a friend of his, the two ladies and a particular lady friend of the Lady Constance drove up to the little church of Woodbine Bectory. The Count and the Lady Constance were married, where- upon he escorted her to her carriage, and in the most polite manner raised his hat, bowed, and off she drove plus a name and title, minus a husband ; for the count stepped into the carriage with Lady Bene- diction and drove off with her and they are gone to Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 221 the continent, and Lady Constance inherits and inhabits alone. Is not that a queer episode in a life. " That's the way with those English/' continued Sir Edward, as he looked with a twinkle at Claymore, " I am not English," said Claymore, " my better half is Irish, and the worst, half has sworn to be the same in life and death." : *' Dear me," said Sir Edward. Ci what a power the ladies are." Mary Claymore's eldest boy was now nearly three years old, the other was over twelve months. After a sumptuous and unceremonious lunch, Claymore and his wife prepared to take their departure. Before the door in the wall was opened a careful survey of the outside was made from upstairs, so as to prevent any linker gaining entrance unbidden or unawares, when the horses were led out and the visitors mounted and departed. Fernmount was one of those old mansions with high gables and chimneys, whose tops peeped above the old trees which surrounded it, and lined the avenue leading to the road, at the back the land sloped off to the banks of the Shannon ; the master of the mansion was like too many of his class, who alas are almost become things of the past. Open-hearted and honorable, off-handed and confiding, far from suspicious, above small matters, they were soon involved by tradesmen 222 • Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. and tricksters and fleeced after a struggle, generally prolonged, of all that they had or that was possible to take ; sometimes the unfortunate debtor was thrown into prison and kept there until death released him by paying his debts. This was a most bar- barous law, inhuman as it was unchristian and cruel. In this case Sir Edward walked to church and around "the estate generally on Sundays ; on the rest of the week he could only do so before or after sunrise, at such a time you were safe from arrest for debt which must have been a great boon to the poor hunted debtor and most tantalising to the relentless Shylocks who hungered for him. The day following this visit to Fernmount, Clay- more received orders to march to the city of Gal way at once. The day was one of those wet miserable days which are so frequently experienced in Ireland. His wife and two sons drove over to Gurteen Lodge, to remain until he had quarters prepared for them at Galway ; he had made up his mind to sell out at once and leave the army, and had taken the preliminary steps before he started for the city of Galway. " Man proposes but God disposes," is an unchang- ing truth ; Claymore had caught a severe cold on the Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 223 march, wet clothes- and feet, which brought on a fever, so his poor wife was hastily summoned to his bedside. He rallied only for a short time after her arrival, when he sank rapidly, his last words were, " God help my poor wife and children," and poor Claymore passed away in the prime of life, leaving a young widow and tw T o young boys to mourn his loss, and struggle with a cold selfish world. With broken heart did Mary Claymore hang over the face of her beloved, as she awaited the coming of her brother and dear mother from Gurteen, to arrange for the last sad rites over her beloved husband, the object of her heart's first and only love. As she sat her face suffused with tears, her heart a dreary bleak desolation ; her mind travelled over the too short sunshine of her life. Their courtship and wedded life which only appeared as of yester- day, was now blasted for ever ; was this the end of their happy beginning and brief but heavenly union ? Her mother and brother were soon with her ; as she threw herself into the arms of her loving mother, she said, " mother dear, you know what a widow's sorrow is, what mine is," and she wept bitterly. Arrangement was made to convey the body of poor Claymore to England to the family burying- ground there. The sorrowing young widow and her brother accompanying the remains, 224 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. While in England the Countess Conturnelio called to visit her and mingled her tears with hers ; as also some of Claymore's nearest relations, father or mother, sister or brother, he had none living. The last sad duty being rendered to the dead, Mary Claymore returned with her brother to Gurteen, where she was the object of the most heart- felt sympathy of all around, crushed and heart- broken she visited the poor as in days gone by, and experienced comfort and consolation as she endea- vored to convey such to the hearts and homes of others. One thing caused her much sorrow, she found that many of the people who possessed their own little farms and homes a few years before, particularly on neighboring estates, were now home- less and begging their bread, or working odd days for three or four pence per day, just sufficient to stave off starvation and avoid the humiliation of begging. In most cases those poor people's little holdings were joined together to make a larger one for some Scotch or English immigrant who was induced to come over and oust the poor hardworking son of the soil, more necessary to the welfare and well-being * of the crown and country than the landlords. It is with much satisfaction and unfeigned delight Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 225 that I can add that those very immigrants became more troublesome and defiant to the landlords than their more humble and patient predecessors, while in some cases the land was rented to the stranger for less : in other cases at a considerable advance. In either and both cases the landlords and the land were cursed. The latter to be made pay was skinned and burned, — not but that the same might have been done to the former too, and with better result to the country ; the la,nd thus treated was worthless and then thrown upon the landlord's hands who in turn cursed and abused his foreigner tenant, who sent him in plain English to a hot place, and went himself elsewhere, procrastinating the honor of accompanying his lordship, for spite or otherwise. 226 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. CHAPTEE X. A GHASTLY SCENE AND. SECRET. ||||pN important event was expected to come off Sllll in a few days at Gurteen Lodge. While in London^ a barrister of some note had been introduced to Lucy, and paid her considerable attention, proposed for her, was accepted, and all preliminaries were arranged, so that he was daily expected at Gurteen where the marriage was to be quietly performed. In her wanderings, Mary Claymore with a little basket of good things on her arm started for the old abbey to pay a visit to her old friend Kit Murrought, whom she found very feeble and much bent. The old woman did not recognise her for some time, and then remembered and spoke to her as Miss Mary. Mary Claymore could not help crying as she called to mind poor Claymore's visit to the old woman a few years before, and how often he spoke of her strange prediction, which was only too faith- fully fulfilled ; what a change had taken place in so short a time in surrounding things, except the resting places of the dead and their dull tenants, and this poor lonely old tenant of the abbey, who Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 227 ere long would be found to have penetrated those dark portals of the dead, outside of which she had lingered so long, and which had continued firmly closed against her, while solemnly and freely opening to receive others who would gladly have evaded the fearful alternative. Mary Claymore was about to leave when the poor old hermit laid her hand upon her arm, and looking up into her face with scrutinizing and pleading looks mutely pleaded for her to remain for a little longer. " I may never see you again acushla," said the poor old creature with faltering voice. " yes, granny/' said Mary, 16 I will come to see you often, I will not forget you." " Miss Mary asthore. you may come to see your old Kit, but she may not see you ; these eyes are growing dim and dark, but the Lord will bless you, and the holy angels will make your bed here- after, for you were always the friend of the poor and misforthenate, God love you," as she said this she laid her hand on Mary Claymore's and wept and prayed. Mary endeavored to comfort the poor creature, " allannah it does not matter about me after all, sure you Miss Mary, young and lovely and good, have had your throubles, and God knows enough without been bothered with a poor ould 228 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. crayther loike me, but sure Father Luke tould me to tell you Miss Mary, for the Lord knows you are the friend of the poor, forlorn and deshtitute loike all your family, and your darlint father, God rest his sowl, Amin, and poor Mr. Claymoor, " Well, granny/' said Mary, " what is your trouble and your secret, and I will do anything I can to help you, you may be sure." The old woman was silent for a while, and trembled violently, then whispered, " a dhrop of wather Allan- nah," and suddenly fell back upon her bed of straw, helpless and unconscious ; Mary Claymore was much frightened,but seizing the little pitcher of water near by, threw some over the face of the old woman and applying her smelling salts to Kit's nose soon restored her to consciousness ; when she opened her eyes she looked around as if expecting to see some one else, and then said : " how did I come here asthore ? where is he ? did I fall down them old steps into that tomb ? Before my time, before my time, whispered the old woman, as if to herself." u I will soon be there Miss Mary " she added, and looking more collected, but anxious she continued " I have not told you all yet, no/' " Miss Mary" said the old woman, rather in a start- led, or pleading tone : "I'm in great throuble intirely Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 229 and dishthress, and you are the only sowl, next to father Luke, I can cum to, Oh ! what will I do at all, at all V The old woman had evidently some great secret troubling her, which she was afraid to confide to any other than father Luke and Mary Claymore. The latter by her tenderness and devotion to the poor and peasantry in general, had won the confi- dence and affectionate respect of all in return, more- over the people and peasantry had the most unbound- ed confidence in the honor of such as the D'Arcy family, whose word was considered equal to an oath if once given ; not at all an uncommon nor by any means an exceptional feature or trait in the one class or feeling in the other ; but I must say with all sorrow, that I feel such mutual feelings are fast fading away. "Kitty/' said Mary Claymore, "tell me what troubles you, and you need not fear any one will know ; and I will do all I can for you. 5 ' "You will? Miss Mary, may the Blessed and Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus, guard you and yours, Amin. Sure I will die aisy now/' "You wont be afeered darlint"? said the old woman alluding to something that was passing in her mind ; as if she had communicated it to Mary Claymore. 230 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. "Afraid of what Kitty ? what should I be afraid of in helping yon ?" said Mary. "Oh ! sure an you need'nt acushla machree, no- thing would harm you." The old woman tottered towards the door grating of her abode, and locked it from the inside. At the * same time peering out into the church yard, to see if there was any person within sight, or in the vicinity ; when she turned to Mary Claymore- and beckoned to her to follow her into a distant and dark recess of the dreary appartment. Mary Claymore felt a slight sensation of curiosity, mingled with something of awe, shoot through her mind. Yet she unhesita- - tingly followed the old woman, who having crept into the recess alluded to, knocked on a flag at her feet, with the old key she held in her hand. Suddenly the stone moved as if some body or power from be- neath was moving it, when lo ! a dark square hole ap- peared, and Mary Claymore thought she preceived a very dim glimmer of light, nor was she certain that it was not an illusion or fancy. The old woman began to descend and whispered to Mary Claymore to follow with care and not to be afraid, Mary did not now feel afraid in the least j she had too much confidence in the old woman, springing from Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 231 long acquaintance and friendship, and conscious of her own heart's motives and, shall we add, disinterest- ed goodness and geninue simple minded love and care for such as poor Kit Murrought. But she was lost in wonder at what was transpiring before her eyes, and as to what was to be the nature of the mystery beneath the old Abbey walls. She crept along care- fully, found a stone step and another and another, until she found herself in a large vault,containing two or three great square tombs, standing a little from each other but in a row. On one of these tombs stood a miserable candle or dip, as such are called. It looked more like an old stone altar than a tomb, as an old rude crucifix of dark wood stood on top of it, both in close prox- imity to the wall. Around the front of this tomb an altar, for evidently it served as both, was a picee of faded colored muslin or cotton with a rude device on the front of it. To approach near it you went up two short steps. This gloomy appartment reminded one of the old Catacombs of Eome, in which the poor persecuted Christians sought refuge, retirement and rest, from their cruel and powerful foes. Eefuge, when hunted and sought for ; retirement, when the dark and silent pall of night had enveloped the Jtand and they 232 Semes and Incidents in Irish Life. bowed before the old stone Altar, beside which stood their faithful priest, and surrounded by the ashes of the faithful saintly dead, swore eternal devotion and unwavering love to Christ and His Church, come what might, fire, sword or wild beast, and lastly they found rest in the silent niches, prepared for them, in the walls of those friendly subterranean labyrinths, by loving hands, after the sorrows and struggles of life were ended. Having triumphed over death and the grave, they slept near to the sacred altar, within sound of the voice of praise and prayer, silent moni- tors and incentives to their assembled brethren to persevere in the noble and holy cause. Eeligion forms a powerful bond, when reverence and veneration promoted by wisdom, possess the heart and mind. Mary Claymore was astonished beyond measure, at this strange and gloomy picture ; a feeling of profound awe crept over her mind. For some time she could not realize the extent of the place, or what it contained. The dim light of the tallow candle only added to the gloominess of the surroundings, and gave outlines and appearances of every concievable description according to the imagination of the individual One thing arrested Mary Claymore's attention Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 233 at which she could not help expressing astonish- ment in a hushed tone of voice ; at the same time pointing towards it with her hand. It was a live owl sitting upon a limb of a portion of an old decayed branch of a tree, and blinking at her with that grave unconcerned look that would almost convince one of the truth of the doctrine of trans- migration of souls. It did not attempt to stir, nor show any alarm at the intrusion, but on the contrary looked quite familiar. A movement of something arrested her attention not far from where the owl sat, and which almost wrung .a suppressed cry of alarm from her. It was the form of a man leaning against the wall his features were sad- and sickly looking, he did not move. The old woman came near to Mary Claymore and whispered " do not be afraid acushla, there's no thin here to harm a hair av yer head. Only thim who would give their life's blood to defind and protect ye. Its not much the poor boy beyant is able to do av he was willin itself, I'm only afeard its not long poor Connell will throuble any av us." " Connell P' exclaimed Mary in surprise, " yes allannah, Connell sure enough." At this Connell respectfully lifted his hand to his forehead to salute Mary, as he Q 234 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, remarked in feeble tones, " It is myself, Mrs. Claymore, hunted like a wild beast, and wounded I I am dying in my lair ? my only pastime and companion that bird of night," and he looked towards the owl, " my nurse, and one as a mother to me, is poor Kitty Murrought, Mrs. Claymore, may the Lord reward her for it hereafter." " I have not long to live Mrs. Claymore, I am dying of consumption, and I am helpless ; look at that," and as he said this he lifted his left arm, which he could not stretch out from him. The story in brief respecting poor Connell is simply this. — His father Jim Connell was a tenant of Bareham's, his mother was a hardworking, honest woman. William, or as he was generally called. Bill, was their only child living. He always showed a great aptitude for acquiring knowledge. So as a boy he took it into his head to play poor scholar, and wandered away from home, to get learning free with working a little now and again for a farmer where he would stop. The Irish have always had a great respect for that class of persons, and never refused them bed and board, and the schoolmaster always had the same consideration for them. Sce7ies and Incidents in Irish Life. 235 Indeed, it was always a struggle between the boys who should have the honor and pleasure of taking him home for a night, where he was cor- dially and hospitably received, and as they gathered around him by the fireside at night, listened to all he said, as to an oracle, with profound respect; and he assisted the children of the house in prepar- ing their lessons for the next day. This class of persons were always selected by the priest to assist in serving mass. This also added to their impor- tance considerably. After a protracted tour of this sort William Connell returned, possessing a fair amount of knowledge, for one of his class. But certain of his neighbors disliked him for this, amongst them was an understrapper or driver of Bareham's. William Connell was courting a girl, the daughter of a tenant of the D'Arcy's, and who often helped at the lodge. At length old Connell was asked by the son to see if Bareham had any objection to his getting married. The father one day started to see the landlord, and, after waiting for half a day, he at length was summoned into the hall ; Bareham appeared with, great majesty, which quite overawed poor old Connell, " well Connaw/' said he, u whats yaw 236 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. businaas V " May it plaze yer honner," said the poor man," my boy Billy was wantin' to git married." u No ? he shall not," hastily replied the autocrat, before the poor man could finish what he was about to add, and, he continued in the same tone, " if he doas youa shawl leave the place awt once." " No yer honner he washnt without yer honner's consint. That's what I kum to ax yer honner" "Who is the gawl he waants taw marry ? " added Bareham. " Nancy Bielly, yer honner I" said the old man, "her father is a tenant of Squire D'Arcy," u Haw, I waant none of thawt school awn moy estawt." The old man at once perceiving from the tone of this lord of the soil and souls, that it was useless to say more, bowed to his honor, and beat a retreat. The servants were not Irish, and therefore had no sympathy with Connell, but enjoyed his confusion. The poor old man returned home with a heavy heart, knowing how disappointed, if not enraged his son would be, at the despotic spirit of the Land- lord, and the threat uttered, that if the son married, they would be turned out of their little home on the hi^h-road. When old Connell arrived home and reported his reception and. repulse, William Connell's brow grew dark, and he said with much vehemence and Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 237 bitterness, " By all the Saints above I'll marry if I like and who I like, and I care not a thraneen for him nor any av his loikes. If he gits his rint, which is his right,- 1 must be allowed to marry who and whin I loike, that is my roight, and let him dare to turn us out of the home you have lived in for nigh on fifty years." " Hush William a vie," said his mother, " what can the loikes of us do agin the loikes of him, who has all the milithery and majisthers to back him up, and its but shmall change weed git, and shure where would we turn to a vie ?" "Mother," said the young man, "are we slaves or dogs, that we must be thrated in this way ? It's only your consarn and my fathers and my own, if I want to get married, and I will, and let him do his w T orst, I am able to support ye two, and take care of ye that neither bit nor sup will you be behoulden to Bareham fur, or any other, av the Lord spares me." The next day William Connell saw the priest and arranged for his wedding, but when Eielly heard of the opposition and threat of Bareham he refused to let his daughter marry Connell under the circumstances ; this was adding fuel to the fire already kindled in the breast of Connell, and to make matters worse, Bareham having been informed 238 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. of the determination of Coimell to act contrary to his express command, he sent for the old man and told him in the most insulting and peremptory manner, that his son should ]eave their home, and not to appear upon the estate again, and if he did not leave within two days, they must suffer the consequences. The poor old man endeavored to expostulate, and plead that he was their only child and help ; he was at once ordered to be silent, and leave. When poor old Connell left, he wended his way towards home with a heavy heart, he knew not what to do. His past training, present position and condition, left him incapable of summing up or solving the present problem, otherwise than this : — The great man has spoken and must be obeyed. He is a dispenser of the law, such as it is, or rather such as he wills ; a lord of the soil, I a serf. He both proposes and disposes. A man in short, of supreme power and superior position. I am no one, and of mean condition, what right have I to try and keep my boy with me, although the home where he was born is my home and my wife's. What right have I to expect to enjoy such a com- fort, if the big. man has spoken so go he must or go we must, out on the high-road to beg my bit and my poor Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 241 old wife beside me. How can I bear the disgrace, we will wander far away from the dear old cabin, if the worst comes to the worst. But Oh ! how will the boy take it, what may not this drive him to do, some desperate act, and then — here the poor old man paused, the picture of his son in the felon's dock and cell loomed up before his eyes, and all its attendant horrors. He sank down upon the side of the road lost in thought, bewildered, crazed ; unconscious of all around, he continued to mutter to himself as he rocked to and fro. A heavy shower of rain came on, still there lie sat. How could he go home with such news to his poor old wife and son ? The sun went down, still there he sat, heedless of the surrounding darkness and mist that had succeeded the rain. At length a patrol came along and perceiving the old man took him along with them to the station, where he was kept until morning. In the meantime the son and old # Mary Connell, his mother, wondered at the absence of the old man, and the latter sug- gested that the son should go in search of the father ; he did but without success. As he was return- ing he fell in with a certain person named Hickey,well known to him, but living some three miles away. As they walked along, Connell unfolded to the 242 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. other the reason he was out and his troubles about his marriage. " Are you," said Hickey, u satisfied and contint to take up wid such thratemint ? are we beg- gars, bastes or slaves when* we are willing and able to work and pay our rints, that we musht be thrated so ? You have got larnin' Billy ? and tell me why is it that we cannot live as we loike, marry who we loike, worship as we loike, and have an in- depindint voice in makin our own laws ? Didn't our forefathers always do it ? wernt' they all free min and great? Then how is it, I say, that we ? their children, are no better than slaves, and mane, and darnt turn about upon our own flure widout sayin', by yer lave. Bigor I'm towld there's a law agin cutten' ones hair or shavin, or av warin it only in a sartin way, or a fellow may be murthered intirely. So that the hair God gave us, isn't our own.'' Suddenly Hickey stopped and laid, his hand upon ConnelFs shoulders and said, " are you a thrue man to your counthry and your religion ?" " I am," said Connell. " Are you willin to defind and light fur them, and fur your roights as a man, or be loike a slave of the intherloper and furriner ?" he further added. il I am," said Connell, with nervous emphasis,— " Then give me your hand," said Hickey; it was given, and Hickey whispered "come wid me." Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 243 No more was said, but on in silence strode Hickey until they came to the church yard at the old abbey where old Kit Murrought lived. He walked to- wards a large ash tree which grew near the abbey wall, a large branch of which extended to and mingled with the ivy of the old building. As they stood beside the tree, Connell saw Hickey catch a rope which hung from the branches. He whis- pered to Connell to follow him as he clambered up into the tree with the assistance of the rope, then out on the branch which led to the ivy; here he waited for Connell, who as previously instructed drew the rope after him, which was yet further required to do service, as it was again fastened to the end of the same branch, and Hickey creeping through the ivy which grew in a great compact pile, rising up in a gradual slope from six to twenty feet above where they were, Hickey again holding the rope began to disappear feet foremost down a slant- ing flue, just large enough for a man's body to descend through. He was closely followed by Con- nell. who was thinking within'himself, what was the meaning of all this, and in what it was going to end. He also thought how anxious his poor old mother would be, and moreover when he would return home in the morning without his father or a'^y ac- 244 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. count of him, what would he say ? He half wished he had not met with Bickey. As he was thus think- ing, and sliding down this dark, narrow and myste- rious passage, he suddenly felt his legs dangle out into space of a more extensive nature than that of the passage. Immediately he felt hands take hold of him, and in a moment he was pinioned and blind- folded, and a voice whispered gruffly, " are you a true man"? Connell, half suffocating, replied, "yes, and no desait." " Do you hate the sassanagh and oppressor of your race and religion " ? again demanded the same voice, " I do," again replied Connell. A book was now held to his lips, and the same voice said, " kiss the holy mass book," Connell did so. " Do you swear by its holy contents that you will be faithful to all whose names and faces shall be made known to you, as companions in the holy struggle for our liberty and religion, and never desert nor betray them for any cause, and that if you do, you deserve death?" — Connell replied, " I swear by the holy mass book, which I have kissed, and all that is sacred, to do as you say, so help me G-od, amin." Immediately the bandage was removed from his eyes, and the rope from his arms, ariu. he siood free in body, but bound in mind and 30ul, having entered into a compact stnd society from which there Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 247 was no retreating, except to leave himself open to suspicion on the part of those with whom he had embarked in this dangerous enterprise, and he would not for the world be thought a coward or a traitor. Around him stood a number of men, all familiar faces with one or two exceptions. On the tomb-altar stood a crucifix and the mass- book, which Connell had just kissed and sworn upon. All spoke in an undertone ; at length one man, a stranger to Connell, came forward and stood in front of the tomb, on which he rested one hand holding a bottle, w r hile in the other he held the massbook alluded to, and elevated above their heads, a large flint lock horse pistol lay at his feet. As he turned towards the little assembly, every head of which was bared, he said, " do you all swear by this holy book to be true to every brother, and that you are willing to obey and carry out faithfully and fearlessly whatsoever the brotherhood demands in the sup- port and defence of our country, creed and liberty ?" when every voice responded, — " we swear to do or die/' then the same leader said, " God prosper the right and help the wake, amen," and all responded in the same words. The next thing 'was the bringing forward of Con- 248 Scents and Incidents in Irish Life. nell and giving him signs, grips and passwords, whereby the brethern were to be recognised by day or night ; whereupon after a little desultory con- versation, all began to disperse one by one and at intervals. It was about two o'clock in the morning when he arrived home to find all as he left ; his father not having returned. When Connell went to bed, it was not to sleep, but to think over the events of the night. At one time he felt he was in a position now to defy any landlord or other who would wrong or oppress him, backed up by such a power, sworn to help him, and to make his cause theirs. But then he thought, what may not be expected from him at any mo- ment and what the result ? By the break of day William Connell was aroused from a sound slumber by some one knocking at the door of the cabin, and a feeble voice which he at once recognised as his father's, calling, " Bill, avic open the dure/' Whereupon William jumped out of bed with all haste and opened the door. There stood his father looking ghastly as death and scarcely able to stand upon his feet ; " Bill, avic, I'm afeered I'm dyin, " said the old man," I must go to bed at wansht. I'm in a faver, go for the priesht Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 249 and the docthor." So William did without any delay, when it was found he was down with that malig- nant and contagious disease, known in Ireland, as the fever, very fatal in its effects and dreaded by all. The old man never rallied, but sank rapidly ; a few hours before his death he told about his mission to Bareham and what befel him afterwards, as near as he could guess and that William was ordered to leave the place in forty-eight hours, or take the consequences. This William declared he never would do, come what might. But the last words of the poor old Irish cottier were, " Bill, avic go to your duty reglarly, and dont do anything bad," and soon the old man breathed his last, the victim of cruelty and oppression. Poor old Mary Connell contracted the fever too, which was aggravated by her violent grief for the death of the old man, and the landlord's order, so that she sank rapidly and died, and was carried to the grave, only a few days after her husband. William attended the funeral crushed and broken-hearted ; but during his absence Bare- ham sent and took possession of the house. In such a case, the question of illegality was easily set aside ; but William Connell had no intention of submitting so easily, therefore a 250 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. number of the boys were summoned, when the bailiffs inside were ordered to open the door, which was refused, whereupon the services of an old crowbar were brought into requisi- tion. The door was forced in, when a hand to hand struggle ensued, in which ConnelPs party were successful, and bailiffs cut and bleeding were ejected. One of them was thrown head long into that horrid receptacle of filth, the sink hole, which stands at the door of almost every cabin, throughout the Country, and at the baek door of many com- fortable farmers houses where two doors happened to be, — on account of which, the mystery is, that there is not more sickness throughout the land. As this scene was being enacted, Bareham arrived, and walking up to the door ordered it to be opened forthwith ; so it was, but in a moment he was seized by Connell, by the throat, and forced back and into the same sink that the other had just emerged from. Bareham was like a wild beast, and recovering himself after a good flounder in his odoriferous bath, drew a pistol and levelled it at Connell and fired, without fire, only so far as pulling the trigger went ; the powder had got wet in the pan so it did not go off. The other, thirsting for revenge still further, flew upon Bareham and dealt Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 251 him such a blow with an old tongs that he knocked him senseless. Just then a few soldiers under a sargeant came upon them at the double, and arrested Connell. Bareham had to be laid upon an old door, taken off the hinges, and carried by some of those present to his house, to all appearances dead. Connell knew if such was the case he had not a chance for his life, once inside the jail, so in a moment he made a dash, knocked down one of the soldiers ancf ran for his life, shot after shot was fired, with no apparent result. The country people ran to and fro and bewildered the pursuing soldiers, so that Connell successfully escaped until after dark, when he made his way to where Mary Claymore found him. But on the day of his escape, a bullet struck him ; passing through his body, without touching a vital part passed out and struck his arm shattering the bone. Internal hemorrhage and poor care or attention to the wounds, left him in the state he was in. A reward was offered for him dead or alive, but without avail. There, from night to night he saw the brethern, who did for him all they could to alleviate his sufferings. This in brief is the history of Connell up to the moment he is introduced to the reader in his lonely 252 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. subterranean abode, without fire or light except what was supplied by the tallow dip. He ventured up a few times, about sunrise to see the light, and green grass, arid lovely ivy, and to hear the birds sing and chirrup in their Grod given freedom ; although it saddenned, it also gladdenned his heart. The latter counterbalanced the former ; as he sighed and returned to his gloomy abode he felt thankful for the shelter and protection it afford- ed him. He had heard from his Nancy Rielly from time to time through old Kit Murrought. She assured him her heart was with him, and that she was will- ing to beg the world over or die with him. He had a premonition that he was not going to live many weeks, if not days, and this had taken absolute possession of his mind ? and he moreover remarked that the owl latterly had hung around him more than usual, and uttering an unusual and most sepulchral sound, which the more he dwelt upon, the more he was impressed with the reality of the feeling. He felt he would die easy if he could only marry Nancy Rielly, and feel there was one who would truly love him, and mourn for him when he was gone ; and more important still, whose loving Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 253 prayers and tears for him, and~ the repose of his departed soul would ascend before the throne of God, and be whispered to his soul beyond the confines of the tomb. Nancy would come, if Mary Claymore would con- descend to share the secret of her heart and sorrow, and if the priest would also consent to perform the ceremony and bless them, which he would not refuse to do if asked by Mary Claymore. In this Nancy was right, as regards the priest. "Mrs. Claymore," said Connell, "is it making too bowld to ax you to do this last favir for a dyin man ? Your heart was always kind and lovin to the poor and lonely and I know you'll not be displased wid me, you know the sorrows that cums to the heart, when we win to-day to lose the day afther the one we love." This appeal went home to Mary Claymore's heart, she bent down upon the tomb beside her and wept silently, but bitterly, for a few moments. Overcoming this outburst of grief she turned to- wards Connell and said, " Connell, my poor fellow, I will gladly do any thing in my power to cheer your lonliness and soothe your grief. " " What further do you want me to do ? " " Oh ! May 254 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. the Lord bless and bring e very comfort to your heart and soul, Mrs. Claymore, for this ; * and the poor fel- low dropped upon his knees. "May the blessed Mother of Jesus and all the Holy Angels watch around you day and night, and all belonging to you. May the good Lord of Glory lighten your sorrows, and bring you happiness as you have done to me. Arnin, Amin, O most Sweet Jesus." The poor fellow unable to rise, leaned over against the wall as if in a faint, the two women ran to his assistance, and putting the pitcher to his lips he drank some water and revived. Mary Claymore was to see the priest and make the appointment and arrangement with him. When Mary Claymore returned to the open air and daylight, she felt thankful, truly thankful for these blessings. But then her heart grew sad, when she thought of. the poor fellow she had just parted from, She thought, why is it that a young man like him, should be goaded on by injustice and cruelty, which because he resented in the heat of passion, and who would not under the circum- stances, except an angel,— be hunted and shot down like a wild beast, and forced to take refuge in th e abodes of the dead and die there. A heart and soul such as Connell's, she thought, and so suscep- tible of kindness, and so completely under the con- Scenes and Incidents in Iiish Life. . 255 trol of the tender and holy influence^ of religion and love, was not the material to crush out and destroy, but to encourage, influence and control by justice and kindness, if not by love. Man was like the harp ; if touched by skilful fingers, influenced by the tender passions of the soul, its notes were in accord thereto, made the heart of the performer glow with more intensity, and charmed all whose ears and hearts it reached, even soothing the savage breast. But on the other hand, let the fingers of the mailed warrior, moved by the terrible and cruel passions associated with the field of battle and of blood, awake its notes, and like the music of the Ancient Greeks, the strings give forth the clang of war, the victor's cry, the strains of triumph, when lo ! the glistening sword of blood is unsheathed and w r aved on high in response to the current moving in the soul, and ten thousand voices rend the air, terrible to hear, as wild beasts having tasted blood. So thought Mary Claymore as she wended her way to the house of Father Luke, who had just returned from a distant part of the parish. He was delighted to see Mary Claymore ; and treated her with the most gallant courtesy and respect. " Are you coming to your duty, Mrs. Claymore," said he in a playful tone ? "I am coming to do my 256 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. duty, Father Luke, I hope you are prepared to do the same," said Mary Claymore smiling. " Bedad the tables are turned on me in airnest now, said the priest. I hope you are not going to ax me to. a fox-hunt, if so I will do my duty by proxy/' and gave a sly look at Mary Claymore. "Nor am I going to pay duty upon the last cruiskeen of dew : for on my faith I dislike that sort of duty. But acknowledge the duty to keep in good spirits." At this play upon words there was a hearty laugh on both sides. " Well, I have something to communicate to you Father Luke, and request you to do at your earliest convenience, and for which I will be your debtor, as also others, more immediately concerned and seriously. 7 ' So she proceeded to unfold all that was necessary to secure the priest's services and co- operation ; when she had done speaking, the priest looked serious and thoughtful. So well he might, for the proposition was no child's play. "Holy Peter," at last he exclaimed, " what would become of me if I was caught ?" — " which is not at all likely," replied Mary Claymore. " You can call to see the old woman to-morrow, and I will carry her over something, and it will be thought she is unwell and Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 257 sick, which indeed she is. Then upon the jiight appointed, when as you say there is not a chance of a patrol on account of that fair and funeral," — " And faith a lively time I'm afeerd they are go- ing to have of it at the funeral as well as the fair, as I'm towld the boys of both factions are musterin . Faith it's myself would loike to musther and pepper them too, with the horsewhip, the vagabones. but sure they play upon poor Father Nick, Mrs. Claymore. Did you hear what the spalpeens done to him at the last fair, to get him out of the way, when the ruction begun, and to prevent him from spoilin' their divarshin'?" " Well," continued the priest, forgetting all about Mary Claymore's embassy, if we may so call it, and overflowing with merriment, over the thoughts of the scene he was about to relate, " the boys were towld Father Nick would spoil their fun at the next fair, indeed he towld them so himself from the althar, one Sunday he was leatherin them with his tongue, but sure it was himself he was preparing the mortifi- cation for, and cutting his own cabbage. When the fair day arrived, and the boys had all their sticks graised and their noggins full of more than buther- milk, they gave old Peg Leahy the cobbler's wife, a bottle of whiskey, upon her promising to go to bed 258 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. purteifding she was sick, and begin to bawl melliah murther for the priest, that the spirrit was lavin her, but by saint Anthony it was t'other way wid her, while the bottle lashted, she losht none av the sperits. It wuz the bottle wor the sickisht av the two ; well all av a suddent she took to bawlin, thehaythen, for Father Nick, when it wor ould Nick was inside av her. It was surprisin' what a pullaloo she raised, so they towld Father Nick a woman was in the throes, that she had the last throw, which was the truth, to her sorrow, as she had just taken the last throw out of the bottle, when Father Nick arrived. As soon as he was beside the bed then one av the unmannerly blaggards locked the door on the outside, and said, " they were safe from ould Nick now in airnest, but be my sowl it was the other way with them, ould Nick was with them in airnest, so they set to murther each other, without molesta- tion or interruption. When Father Nick heerd the ruction he made for the door, but it was locked, and as the bawlin' went on outside, the thief of an owld imposther was bawlin' inside, and the priest was bawlin' too for some one to open the door, when all av a suddint the ould haythen says to Father Nick, " begor there's no use in your rivirence killin yourself intirely hoashing like that, whin they've Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 259 kilt aich other to their hearts contint they'll let you out." " I thought you were dying," said Father Nick, " a while ago." " So I wor your rivirince," said the owlcl deceiver, " but I'm betther now, only dying fur more of what they gev me to take care of your rivirince. " Father Xick saw at a glance he was outwitted, but declared he would " lambaste ould Peg another time." Here Father Luke had a good laugh, and Mary Claymore laughed too, and bidding the priest good day, departed. She called to see old Kit the next day and brought some little comforts and delicacies for her. The old woman told her poor Connell was much worse, and very weak ; she had brought a bottle of wine and some jelly which she told the old woman to give him, in hopes it would strengthen him for the evening of the second day from that time. Poor Connell felt the time pass more slowly than ever, but the prospect of seeing his adored Xancy, and calling her his before lie died, kept him up. At length the day arrived, Mary Claymore felt anxious and nervous, but kept herself busily employed so as not to be dwelling too much or particularly upon responsibilities or results. She had promised and must keep to her promise at any 260 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. and all risks, and in the full conviction of the righteousness of her undertaking, she committed the whole to the Divine over-ruling power. She had Nancy Reilly at the hall all the day employed, and she was preparing some little deli- cacies for poor Connell or as she said to herself to celebrate a marriage among the dead. She thought, was there ever such an experience outside of a novel, or inside the limits of fact. The day was one of those nasty ones so frequent in Ireland ; drizzling in the forenoon and increasing to a down pour, so was this day, and in addition cold and blowing, making it all but impossible to hold up an umbrella or the hat on one's head. The family remonstrated with her for thinking of going out such a night, but in vain, she said " she had promised and would not disappoint the poor sick one. A little before dark, wrapped in a large cloak with a hood, the. latter drawn over her head, she started out with Nancy Eeilly following, similarly attired, and with the little basket under her cloak. After a hard battle with the elements, for the wind being in her face often brought her to a standstill, she arrived at the old abbey, but never did its old walls appear so inviting ; and thankful was she when she passed through its iron grating and stood on its flagged floor, the rain dripping from her cloak. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 261 f< Miss Mary, allannah, sure an its a terrible evening for the loikes of you to be out, the Lord love and purtect you from all harm, and spare you to the poor for many a day, Arnin." Nancy Keilly's cloak was hung upon the inside of the door for a double purpose, namely, to keep the wind and cold out as much as possible, and as a precaution against any though ever so unlikely a passer by glancing in. The night had settled down into one of black darkness, the wind whistled and howled after a most terrific manner, poor old Kit and Nancy would cross themselves, accompanied by a pious ejaculatory prayer. " How is poor Connell to night ? " at length whispered Mary to the old woman, " O Miss Mary, asthore, failin fasht, all that has held the life in the poor boy, was the wine you gev him, the Lord reward ye. He has'nt tashted a bit this blessed day, but threw up a pile of blood, savin yer presence Miss Mary, I'm afeerd its his heart's blood.'' Just as the old woman said this the priest pushed open the iron grating and passed under the cloak. " May all the holy angels and saints purtect us," said he, " but this is an unmarciful night Mrs. Claymoor, honey, how did you get here at-all-at-all ?" As he said this he set down a dark lantern which he carried, and began to divest himself of his saturated overcoat. 262 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. Mary was impatient to visit and relieve poor Connell in his suspense, so she asked the old woman to remove the flag, but which she said was removed and her old box covered it for the last day or two, for poor Connell was not able to do so, as hitherto, so weak had he become. The priest first descended, then Mary Claymore and Nancy, the old woman remaining behind, replaced the box upon the aperture, and without any light, sat down upon her bed to watch and wait. A great change had taken place in poor Connell, so much so that Mary Claymore was startled and almost fainted ; she approached him and tenderly spoke to him, poor Nancy modestly stood in the background crying silently but piteously ; poor Con- nell looked anxiously towards her and mentioned her name. Nancy, at Mary Claymore's beck, came over and took his hand in hers and laid her face upon it weeping, and sank upon her knees beside where he was sitting. It was a most touching, painful scene. Mary Claymore suggested to the priest, that the sooner he performed his sacred offices the better. The priest, therefore, proceeded to hear the confes- sions of both, Mary Claymore having retired into a remote corner of the gloomy place. No sound of the Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 263 raging elements without penetrated here, not a sound broke the awful silence, save the occasional whisper of the priest, and the penitent couple before hira. If ever there was simple-hearted sincerity and piety in the world, thought Mary Claymore, " there it is." After a little the priest proceeded to administer the holy eucharist to both, Mary Clay- more kneeling most of the time ; then came the marriage ceremony ; Mary drew near, ! what a strange scene it was, poor Connell was evidently making his best effort to keep up, yet more like a dead than a living being. There stood that innocent and devoted girl, soon to be both a bride and widow. Mary Claymore poured out a little wine and made Connell take it, as she saw him making a great effort to keep from sinking ; soon the ceremony was over and Connell and Nancy Reilly were man and wife, " till death us do part." The angel of death was standing by ; around him his silent entombed victims ; he was just waiting the signal to strike down another, even at the feet of his beloved bride, one effort more was all the failing man could make, He asked help of his wife and the priest as he tottered to a place in the wall, he took out a stone, inside of which was a paper or papers, which he handed to his bride saying, " that is all I have to 264 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. lave you Nancy darlint an my blessin ; when I am gone, Father Luke and Mrs. Claymore will see you git your roights, and the Lord will reward them. I thought we would have lived together in our own little home, and I would have worked night and day for you, but that was denied me, I have been hounded and hunted like a hare, becase I fought for my roights, the Lord forgive my persecutors, I pray God, Arnin" " Nancy asthore, father the strength is laving me, lay me down, I feel my heart's blood is going, pray for me, my time is come, pray for my soul, God bless you my love, give me a hoult of yer hand, kiss me asthore the last good bye, you were true to me." Here poor Nancy cried and sobbed, " Billy you're not going to lave me so soon, stay with me, O God help me, Father Luke, Mrs. Claymore, he's dying, what will I do, Connell, Connell, darlint spake to your own Nancy who loves you." But in vain, she was calling upon the dead, poor Connell's eyes were set in death, a few spasmodic struggles and all was over, Mary Claymore drew away poor heartbroken Nancy from the terrible scene, while Father Luke laid down the lifeless form and closed the eyes, and breathed a prayer. The dead man's pet and companion, the owl, sat Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 265 looking on, as Nancy looked at it, she burst out crying afresh. Mary Claymore felt the scene was an awful one, such a marriage, such a death, amid such sur- roundings. She was suddenly alarmed by a strange sound, so was the priest, each looked at the other for an explanation, Mary Claymore turned pale as death, and stood speechless, her eyes spasmodically turned towards the corpse, so did the priest's, who made the sign of the cross on himself; Nancy Connell followed his example, and stood looking from one to the other, terrified, no one dared to utter a sound ; on came the noise, now it sounded far off and indis- tinct, then near, it sounded as if in the wall, also as if proceeding from one of the tombs. A suppressed cry from Nancy Connell's lips started Mary Claymore and the priest, while with eyes protruding from their sockets, and extended hand she pointed towards the bare feet of a man protruding from a hole in a dark corner of the place. When suddenly the figure of a man presented itself to the astonished gaze of the terrified group, nor was he one whit less astonished and astounded when he saw who was there. Soon he was followed by another, who likewise shared the same astonish- ment ; horror and terror were depicted upon every feature when their eyes rested upon the lifeless form of poor Connell. 266 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. For some moments neither party spoke at length the priest addressed them by saying : " boys, what is the meaning of this ?" — The others had by this time recovered from their surprise, and the first one who had entered by the flue, as already ex- plained, touched his forehead to the priest and said : " we cum yer rivirince to see poor Bill Connell and to do what ever we could for him, as he said his sowl would soon be at resht, yer rivirince, and so it is, God resht his sowl this night ! how it howls outside and powrs, yer rivirince. Its an awful night for any poor sowl to be out, I suppose the corpse bether be buried to-morrow night yer rivi- rince. The boys will do it dacently any way, but it muhst be done unbeknownsht, which be the same token is moity hard to bury a fellow crather, without a dacent wake or funeral. But its little poor Bill cares for ould Bareham or any av his loikes to-night, begorra he cant cum within a mile av him to throuble him any how, and the devils skewr to him, axin yer rivirince's pardon, and Mrs. Claymoor, God help us, how is she goin to get home without been drowned intirely ? Ther'ill be a mass said fur his sowl yer rivirince, and the boys will pay fur it any how." So as nothing more could be done, Mary Clay- Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 207 more went with Nancy to take a last look at poor Connell and take her last farewell of hiin. This was a heart-rending scene. They could not venture to return again here, for fear of detection, but had to leave the rest of the mournful duties to be perfomed by the boys, which would be faithfully and reverent- ly done without a doubt. So the priest and the two women now took their departure, and left this gloomy abode of the dead, and bade good bye to its silent tenants, more than likely forever; compelled to lock up in the dark recesses of their breasts the secrets and associations, in connection with the place, of which they were cognizant, and for which the minions of the law could have called them to strict and deplor- able account, had they been detected in playing the part they did. But wrapping themselves in their cloaks, they glided like ghosts into the darkness from the place accompanied by the priest. The night was dark as dungeon, the rain poured down in sheets, the wind blew with terrific force. In truth, it was one of those nights, of which is said, " you would not turn an enemy's dog from your door." Mary Claymore felt every thing in connection with the night was in keeping, so was reconciled. The priest now used his dark lantern without 268 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. any fear, and escorted them to the hall. The family- were quite uneasy, and surprised that they should have remained so late, but the " sick were to be attended to" was quite sufficient excuse. Mary Claymore experienced an unpleasant and painful feeling of restraint, not being able to tell the sad scene just witnessed. Her heart felt heavy and, burthened. Likewise poor Nancy Eeilly or Connell, who had been united to and severed from her lover and husband within a few hours, was distracted, and yet could not tell her sorrows, at least for the present, to any other ; the very time she most needed the consolation. The priest was urged to take a good tumbler of punch, to counteract the effects of the wet and cold, which he did, in comparative silence. So that Captain D'Arcy was forced to make the remark, " that he was evidently affected by the atmosphere," '•Yes," said Father Luke, u the night has affected me," and he emphasised the word night. " But Captain, the elements are all right, I only wish the other troubles and dangers of life would correct them- selves as soon and their evil effects be as easily counteracted." Here the priest rose up, resumed his great coat, said good night, with a hope that Mrs. Claymore Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 269 would not be the worse of her night's adventure, and he started out into the night and down the avenue amid the roar of the raging elements, Mary Claymore watched the receding light from the lantern until it was lost in the distance, when her mind strayed back to the late scene beneath the olch abbey; she turned away from the wild scene without, and retired to her room. The night wore on with those who watched or waked the dead body of poor Connell, silent and dreary it must have been. The body was laid out upon one of the old tombs, the feet or face towards the altar-tomb on which stood the crucifix, before which the dead man often worshipped when alive. There sat the owl too, a faithful watcher of the body of its dead master and companion, even though a lonely bird of the night, and called a bird of ill omen, inspiring awe in the minds of many. It had been a companion, a consolation, and source of enjoyment to the poor fellow that was gone, when all other was denied him. No one knows how precious and highly prized such a pet is, until placed in a similar situation to that of Connell, even a mouse or rat is welcome and engrosses all the attention of the incarcerated one. Poor old Kit Murrought slept up stairs, if we may s 270 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. so call it, on her straw bed, feeling at peace in her own soul because she had been so faithful to the dead young man, while entombed with the dead, though living. This scene had quite disturbed her, and she moaned all day, and prayed and walked much about the church yard. The night following the death of Bill Connell, the boys assembled and waked it until after midnight, when they set to work and took off the top of one of the tombs, and without in the least disturbing or in- terfering with the ashes of its ancient occupant, laid the body of poor Connell within it. They laid the crucifix which had stood upon the other tomb upon his breast. Before closing the tomb, those men knelt and prayed for the dead, crossed them- selves, rose up, replaced the cover of the tomb and cemented it. When the last act of burial was finish- ed, they left one by one. The owl sat there when all were gone, in the silent darkness of the place, alone with the dead. The next day poor old Kit Murrought locked the grated door of her abode, and left the place, and was never seen or heard from after. And as to the death of poor Connell or what became of him, except to those in the secret, it has been a mystery to this day. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 271 The papers left by the dying young man were his will and a few pounds he had saved. A lease of the old farm, for several unexpired years was in existence. All were proven. The good will of the little farm was sold, which Nancy received, and with which she after a couple of years paid her pass- age to New York. Having written two or three letters to Mary Claymore, and got out the rest of her family to Xew York, all were lost sight of from that day to this. Possibly some one or more of their descendants may -cast their eyes over these pages and recollect hearing the foregoing incidents related by the actors in the foregoing scenes. ! silent and sad some scenes of life, In the present as also the past, Secrets and sorrows, and crime and strife. As the lot of each person is cast. Each carries his load Along life's rough road ; And the tomb receives both at the last, 272 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. CHAPTER XI. a sister's terrible secret, devotion and DEATH. AEY CLAYMORE was invited by Constance Fitzgerald and her brother to spend a few weeks with them at Ferndell. Gerald Fitzgerald was a relation of the celebrated Lord Edward, whose unfortunate and tragic end is so well known to the reader of Irish history. Fearful and odious, as well as laughable and ludicrous, were the laws and enactments which were put forth a- gainst the unfortunate Roman Catholic of the times, which we shall briefly allude to. Mary Clay- more's sympathies and love never changed towards these warm-hearted friends of hers. Constance Fitzgerald was a handsome girl, of buoyant spirits and most amiable disposition, an innocent, oving and unaffected girl, as one could be acquainted with. Gerald Fitzgerald was a handsome dashing young fellow, a splendid specimen of the Irish gentleman. Impatient of restraint and impulsive, not of that Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 273 spirit or temper to brook insult or submit to any indignities, without resenting such, cost what it might. He was ready to dash into anything that bristled with danger, and required a dare-devil spirit and temper to espouse or embark in the adventure. Like most of his country men, he never stayed to count the cost, but reckless and regardless of results, was ready to do or die. In the time in which he lived, and smarting under the stings inflicted with an unsparing hand upon his class and creed, politically, religiously and socially, it was impossi- ble for a man of spirit and feeling, above that of a dog, to avoid a collision with the existing ruling power. A bigotted class of underlings, clothed with power discretionary, and entirely lacking discretion, spurred on to frenzy and desperation those, who, under other circumstances, would have proved not only peaceable and reconcilable, but loyal. The son was offered a bribe or reward to betray the father. If he became a Protestant he inherited, and the father was disinherited if a Roman Catho- lic. Indeed it was a thing of common occurrence to provoke an unfortunate Eoman Catholic landed estate owner to commit some act of indiscretion, or upon the smallest pretext pounce upon him, con- 274 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. fiscate his property, and without permitting him to appeal or assert his innocence, tell him to go ? and do that no more, and to be thankful for the clem- ency shown him. His property was bestowed upon some vile creature of what was supposed to represent the Crown. In truth the old saying was fulfilled, he got the property for a mere song. Perhaps he sung et Croppies lie down," or " the Protestant boys," whereby he was esteemed loyal, and so rewarded. This is no exaggeration. A Eoman Catholic was not allowed to possess a horse worth more than five pounds, which perhaps was the cause of so many asses having been used in Ireland to establish British rule, and are there in the same abundance, persecuted and ill-used creatures to this day, and mostly fed upon the King's high way, — Significant. Dean Swift saw the cruelty and injustice with which Ireland was treated, and made a prey to designing speculators, and peculators. It is worth noticing here, that the confiscations or forfeitures of the properties of the Irish families was of a wholesale character. The superficial contents of the Island are computed at 11,042 ; 6 8 acres. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 275 In the reign of James the 1st, the whole of the Province of Ulster was con- fiscated, containing 2,836,837 Set out by the Court of claims at the restoration 7,800,000 1,060,792 Forfeitures of 1688 11,697,629 A considerable portion of Ireland has been con- fiscated twice or thrice within a century. So terrible was the iron rule of the poor Irish that they felt like, what I never saw, but often heard of, and can easily imagine, namely, " a hen on a hot griddle," which had to keep moving, and although not released, yet obtained a sort of relief, notwith- standing that one place might be hotter than the other. Hence it is that the White-boys, Hearts of oak boys, Steel-boys, Peep-o-day-boys, Right-boys, whether they were right or wrong, United Irish- men, Ribbon-men, Carders, Delf-crackers, any amount of skull-crackers, this society was the only universal one of the lot, and seemed to be more of a national game ; all sprang into existence from time to time. Each providing and yielding up its own unfor- tunate victims to the transport or convict ship and gallows. 276 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. Into the vortex of these terrible times, poor young Fitzgerald was drawn, and became a leading spirit. He was absent continually, night after night, when Constance and Mary Claymore would sit up, chatting far into the night. An old woman who had been in the family almost half a century, was the only domestic. She sat in the kitchen knitting away or at some other work. Fitzgerald had no fear or suspicion of Mary Claymore as a spy. He felt towards her as if she was his own sister. Mary Claymore at length took her departure, but not without many tears on both sides, and heavy hearts. She had a strong and strange presentiment that it was their last happy meeting, and so it was, as the sequel will show. Scarcely a month had rolled by when Mary Claymore received a letter from Constance Fitzgerald, saying her brother was arrested, and that she feared he would be brutally and unlawfully dealt with, and imploring Mary Claymore to speak to her brother and to beg him to enlist the sympathy and services of her sister's husband, if possible, being a barrister, and urging Mary Claymore by their affectionate and inti- mate relation, to see that her brother received fair play at the hands of his enemies. Captain D'Arcy Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 277 at once set off for Dublin, and exacted a promise that young Fitzgerald would receive kind treatment and justice, a necessary step, for at this time many such persons were simply strangled, with only the merest semblance of a trial. " Sir Ealph Abercrombie," says a historian, " was so disgusted at this state of things, and his repre- sentations to government of more humane measures being adopted, receiving no attention ; he being unwilling to tarnish his military fame, or to risk the loss of his manly and humane character, resigned the command of the army in Ireland, after holding that appointment little more than four months." The trial of Fitzgerald was to come off in a couple of weeks, so there was no time to lose to prepare for his defence. William D'Arcy lost no time in securing the presence and services of his brother-in-law, John Drapier, who came with all the expedition possible. He was assisted and instructed by a Mr. Edwin Shiel, a young Eoman Catholic lawyer. For until only a short time before, no Eoman Catholic was allowed to practice law. Edwin was Constance Fitzgerald's lover, so that he left no stone unturned whereby to defend 278 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, and release Fitzgerald, and upon the other hand there was a desperate determination to secure his condemnation and execution. The struggle was evidently to be a terrible one, and against terrible odds, so Edwin Shiel felt. But he was hopeful and courageous, seeing who his confrere was in the defence, and the friends who sympathised with and backed him. He consoled and encouraged poor Constance Fitzgerald, who wept and prayed, for her brother was all in all to her, and she loved him tenderly and devotedly, the feeling too was mutual. She felt as if she had no relation, no support or protection in the world but Gerald. Through the influence of her friends she was permitted to see him from time to time, as she remained in town awaiting the trial, and to afford him all the com- fort her presence naturally would be to him. He fully realized his desperate position, and that his life hung by a slender thread ; and as he looked into the sorrowful face of poor Constance he thought, what wi]l she do, if I am taken away from her. The patriots in the country had had one or two encounters with the military and were victorious, which incensed the government party more and more against Fitzgerald and the other prisoners, Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 279 some of whom had been ruthlessly strangled, after a mock trial and condemnation. At length the day for the trial of Fitzgerald arrived. He was led into court handcuffed. Yet his bearing was dignified and manly, his lips were deathly pale; Constance Fitzgerald was there, having summoned all her strength and resolution to her assistance, she was determined to be brave and calm. Beside her sat her old friend Lucy Claymore, now Mrs. Drapier, whose deepest and most affectionate sympathies were wdth Constance and her brother, so she afforded her all the comfort and consolation in her power. Mary Claymore had to remain at Gurteen as her mother was ill, and needed her presence. Constance Fitzgerald had many eyes turned upon her, as she sat pale and motionless, listening to the charge brought against her brother ; she looked lovely in her affliction and sorrow, her large dark eyes wandered from the prosecuting lawyer to her brother and then to the judge, we do not need to allude to a jury. The idea and intention in connection with a jury is that of twelve impartial, unbiassed and unpre- udiced men, sitting in judgment upon a peer, and calmly and solemnly hearing all the evidence for and 280 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. against the brother arraigned, and also determining and with wisdom discriminating between the credible and incredible witnesses, the provocation or motives operating upon the accused or accusers, where such is not the case we have only to briefly remark what occurred and not to stand to describe the lovely figurehead of the ship wrecked, when we are detailing all the horrors of the dreadful scene. The heart-rending cry of despair, as parents and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters are torn from each other, and are engulfed in the aw T ful deep, and their frantic cries mocked and drowned in the roaring tempest, while at the same time a cherub, gaily painted, with radiant face and outstretched wings, points forward in hollow lifeless mockery to a shore and haven never to be reached. For two whole days the trial of Fitzgerald dragged on, D rapier and Shiel proved and pleaded and appealed, each like a Cicero, and fought lion like to shake the grim determination of the power that held the victim and prey. Constance Fitzgerald could hardly restrain herself from rushing forward and throwing her arms around her devoted brother's neck and appealing to the humanity of man. As she looked upon his noble features, and thought of the noble loving heart Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 281 that throbbed within his breast, she was dis- tracted, she clasped her hands together in agony. As Drapier concluded his defence, which was an •able and powerful one, and resumed his seat, there was a terrible, an awful silence, it was a painful pause, the few moments of terrible suspense were as a lifetime, when at last these terrible words fell upon the ears of Constance Fitzgerald, " tried and found guilty." Lucy Drapier was unable to speak or move, when a piercing cry rang through the court. It was Constance Fitzgerald, who had also fainted and was carried from the court by Shiel and William D'Arcy, an apparently lifeless form ; what a howl swept through the crowd as they beheld the helpless figure and sweet passive countenance of the lovely girl who soon came to herself in the open air. William D'Arcy and Lucy took her to their hotel and cared for her, Shiel returned into the court. She begged to be allowed to return but they gently remonstrated, as they knew only too well what was to follow. When she screamed and fainted, Fitzgerald, forgetful of his situation, struggled to reach her, but his handcuffed condition and the strong hands of his guards hindered him. What pen can describe his feelings, his breast heaved and swelled like the 282 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. surface of the ocean before a storm, and he sank back overpowered to hear his sentence. It was a terrible scene and trial. William D'Arcy thought of the gay and dashing young friend he had seen and met in the ball-room in days gone past, whirling and gliding in the mazy dance with the gay and fashionable belles of London society, now standing in the felon's dock. The judge now proceeded to pass sentence upon the unfortunate young man, who also looked as calm and dignified as that official of the crown. The sentence was, that he was to be hanged by the neck at the place of public execution, upon a certain day and hour with the usual ascription which sounded only as hollow mockery. Upon the conclusion of the sentence he was led from the court, back to the jail, there to await his doom, which was to take place a fortnight from that day. Every appeal that could be made was made to save his life, but without avail. The only favor that now remained to ask, with a hope of having granted, was the melancholy consola- tion of having the body delivered over to his heart- broken sister after execution. In this they suc- ceeded and received the order for the sheriff to Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 283 deliver the body of Fitzgerald to his friends imme- diately after execution. Edwin Shiel was feeling very sad, all the thoughts that can fill a lover's mind pressed upon him heavily. His union with Constance was indefinitely postponed, nay more probably all hope of such was dispelled, the sad news was gently broken to Cons- tance Fitzgerald. But she had prepared her mind for the worst, so received the melancholy intel- ligence with great calmness and resignation, she prayed and wept, and found consolation in her religion and reliance upon her God and Saviour. In her bed-room she had as always a little table trimmed altar-like, and on it stood a handsome crucifix, a birthday gift she had received from her beloved brother ; beside it, on either side, stood hand- some wax candles in little silver candlesticks, in front of these lay her book of devotions, and she read and prayed and gazed upon that crucifix, with unceasing and untiring devotion, with the thoughts of her doomed brother in her heart, and his name upon her lips, and thus she awaited the dreadful day. She requested William D'Arcy to write to their neighbor and physician Doctor Kennedy at Ferndell to be in attendance upon that dread day ; Doctor Kennedy was an intimate friend and companion of her brother. 284 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. Mr. Drapier had to return to London at once. Lucy decided to go down to G-urteen for a time, as Mary Claymore wished to be with Constance Fitz- gerald through her bitterest trial, and it was the fond and ardent desire of the latter. Little did either imagine the unexpected and startling experience that was yet in store for them, even after the gallows had done its worst, but Providence in His divine wisdom hides the dark and stern decrees of fate in the impenetrable caves of the future. A Parnassus into whose cavernous depths we enter step by step, wondering and trem- bling for the unfolding of each successive mystery, and training every nerve to hear the prophetic voice of the oracle, or with the eye to penetrate the gloomy hidden*ttepths of its abode. The fatal morning at length arrived, Constance had determined to remain with her brother to the last, to pray with and comfort him, as a priest was not permitted to visit him. It was a gloomy morning in or out of doors. A heavy mist hung over the city at daybreak, which turned to a thick mist, followed by a regular downpour. At eight o'clock the sheriff, executioner and two or three other functionaries entered Fitzgerald's cell, and proceeded to pinion him before leading him forth Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 285 to execution. This was a trying ordeal for the heart-broken girl who scarce able to stand, kissed him her last farewell. He said " God bless you, my darling, pray for me," and, turning towards the group of friends, said, " God reward you each and all," and was led away to his doom, the solemn little proces- sion of death slowly winding its way across the jail yard to the scaffold. Two carriages, each drawn by a pair of spirited horses stood in sight ; one was to convey the body of poor Fitzgerald, accompanied by Dr. Kennedy, and the other was for Constance Fitzgerald and her old servant. She would not per- mit Mary Claymore or her brother to accompany her, as she said they must not now be seen in com- pany with the sister of one executed by the hands of the common hangman ; and so took her leave of them with much affection and went and sat in her carriage with that cold, calm, determined resig- nation, that appeared like a mental aberration, and awed the beholder into an acquiescence. When the condemned man arrived at the scaffold, he ascended it with a firm step. The rope was adjusted ; William D'Arcy turned away. Poor Fitzgerald was offering his last prayer, when the bolt was withdrawn and all was over. Immediately, however, William D'Arcy presented T 286 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. his order for the body which was instantaneously cut down, was wrapped in a great heavy cloak, and conveyed to the carriage, in which it was placed, accompanied by Dr. Kennedy. The gates of the jail yard opened and the carriage passed out, moving slowly for a little, but increasing until they were go- ing at the top of their speed, on the road to Ferndell^ amid the torrents of rain. Constance Fitzgerald seemed to be oblivious of everything, and sat more like a marble statue, than a living being. Furiously did the horses splash onward without a pause, for nearly two hours. They charged up each hill at the gallop, for about half way, walking the remainder of the ascent. Thus did this sad and novel funeral convey the body of the heir of Ferndell back to his once happy home. At length the leading carriage drew up before an avenue gate. The horses enveloped in a cloud of steam from their dripping bodies, stood panting, and enjoying the short pause which was made to throw open the gate, Under an overhanging line of beech trees, on either side of the avenue, for a few hundred yards they passed along, until the carriages again drew up before the hall door, Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 287 A most romantic looking spot it truly was ; hidden away amongst trees of all sorts stood the home of the Fitzgeralds. Cottage style, thatched roof with attic windows peeping out under the heavy deep thatched arching eaves, which presented a delightful and quaint ap- pearance. A great mass of dark green ivy covered one end of the building, completely encircling and hiding the large chimney. It had also crept over part of the front of the cottage, and half hid one of the parlor windows. A rustic porch covered with vines, ornamented the main entrance. This was opened by an old man, who, coming forward, having opened the carriage door for Constance Fitzgerald, stood on one side with bared and bowed head, until she had alighted, and passed into the house. He then moved towards the other carriage and assisted in removing the body of his unfortunate young master into the house ; the weary horses and carriages moving on around the building to the coach house in rear. Dr. Kennedy at once laid the body on a sofa. Constance Fitzgerald glided into the room, and kneeling besided the beloved form, stroke 1 back the hair from off that manly face, but now some- what distorted, — despite the efforts of the doctor to 288 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. restore it to its natural appearance while travelling along the road, — after a few moments' silent con- templation her rigid features relaxed j the pent up feelings gave way ; the fount of tears were opefted, and she wept and frantically kissed that passive? face, and rested her's gently upon it. It was Jet warm and soft as though in sleep, and she sighed aloud, addressing the dead, as if to awake him from asleep or trance : — " Gerald, my beloved Gerald, speak to me, speak to your heart-broken Constance. Oh ! that those eyes could open and look upon me, those lips speak to me, my darling Gerald." Dr. Kennedy was busy making some prepara- tions for the body. The doors were now bolted, the lower parts of the window-shutters were closed, the curtains of which were nearly drawn across, the place looked lonely and deserted, as if it were the resting place of the dead instead of the dwelling place of the living. A horse and cow were the sole occupants of the lawn. The former was a strong built, well made hunter, used by poor Fitzgerald in his happier days ; therefore would not be parted with, but regarded with love, and affectionately cared for. Otherwise there were no signs of life about the place. It was given out that the remains of young Scenes and Incidents in linsh Life. 289 Fitzgerald would be interred at night, in an old chapel yard on the estate, not far from the house, and where many of the Fitzgerald family had been buried. The place was therefore shunned by all instinc- tively, as gloomy if not ghostly. Edwin Shiel managed all the affairs of Fern dell, which brought him occasionally in contact with Constance, to hand her money. Even upon such occasions his visits were short, and interviews cold and restrained on the part of Constance Fitzgerald, who seemed to feel restless and uncomfortable in his presence. She seemed to grow more wasted and spiritless each time he saw her. He feared her mind was failing with her body, and he grieved. He urged with all the tenderness possible, that she was destroying herself, and should change her mode of life but she coldly said, not yet. He thought he heard a strange noise upon one or two occasions, for which he could not account, yet would not venture to notice. Eeports were rife that Ferndell was haunted by the ghost of the unfortunate young Fitzgerald; some declared that they had seen him, and that his ghost was exercising an influence over the devoted and lonely girl, and the old servant woman. 290 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. The whole neighborhood entertained an awful dread of the place. On no account would any one approach, or be found in the vicinity of the house after dark. Constance Fitzgerald was never seen abroad. Old Casey, who was at the house when the body of Fitzgerald arrived, brought what ever things were required, and delivered them to the old woman at the kitchen door, and left immediately. Thus a whole year went by, or more. The old servant was sick but Constance Fitzgerald attended to her faithfully. One day Edwin Shiel came to Ferndell. He knocked as usual but received no response. He walked around the house, everything wore an appearance of desolation, and as if a human being had not been in or around the place for years. The walks were overgrown with weeds and grass, as also all the flower beds. The garden gate was broken with the wind. The paved yard was all grass grown even to the doors of the stables and coach-house. Shiel went to the kitchen door but it was bolted too. A flight of stone steps at the back of the house, went up to a part of the attic. These steps he ascended, he took hold of the latch of the door at Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 291 the top of this flight of steps, and it opened. It was a store room, he went forward to another door which opened into a passage, along this he followed ; he started at the sound of his own footsteps, and felt a strange nervous feeling creep over him. He could not venture to call, he hesitated to break the death-like silence of the place. He was fully possessed with the feeling that something startling was soon to reveal itself to his sight, perhaps the beloved form of his Constance lying dead. For this he prepared himself. He now descended a back stairs leading, he felt, to the servants' quarters or the kitchen. When he ar- rived at the foot of the stairs he called out gently, " Miss Fitzgerald/' but there was no response save the echo of his voice through the empty house ; he called again, and now in a painful agony of mind, and loving impatience he called Constance. He then paused for the faintest sound in response, perhaps she is ill he thought, and too weak to an- swer. The light was very dim in the passage where he stood, as in all the rooms because of the half-closed windows. As he stood listening with breathless silence, he thought he perceived a muffled footstep, he again called, when to his horror he heard a 292 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. most unnatural sound or [series of sounds. The perspiration stood in great drops upon his forehead. Suddenly a figure stood before him, it was that of a man. The eyes rolled wildly, frightfully. The head twitched and jerked, which together with the awful contortions of face, presented a shocking ap- pearance. Shiel thought he recognized something of the features of Gerald Fitzgerald, and moreover the clothes, the dress, was the same as that in which the unfortunate young man was hanged. The young lawyer for a moment was struck dumb, then in a nervous and startled voice he exclaimed ! " In God's name who or what are you ? Speak." But the form began to gesticulate with the hand, as if to advance or for silence, yet not uttering a sound. Again Shiel essayed to speak ; u Are you, in the name of God, Gerald Fitzgerald, or what would you have me to do ? where is your sister ? " Here the form began silently to move away, at the same time motioning to Shiel to follow. Shiel did so, into the parlor through a door at the opposite end to that at which he entered. There stood a bed, beside it half kneeling, half reclining, was the form of Constance Fitzgerald. He lifted her from the floor gently and tenderly, but to his horror he found she was dead and cold. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 293 In a frenzy of agony he called her name, but alas ! all her troubles were over and forever. The spirit of Constance Fitzgerald had taken its flight some hours before. Beside him still stood the strange form. On the bed too, lay the form of the old woman, dead. Shiel now spoke, and said. " In God's name, what does this mean ? Do speak, man or ghost." But there was no reply, yet he could still see by the dim light that remained, that the eyes of this strange apparition before him were rolling in a frightful manner, the head and face spasmodically jerking and making the most hideous grimaces. Shiel knew not what to do, an indescribable feeling of horror, fear and curiosity overcame him. He fixed his eyes upon the spectral form in mute asto- nishment, undecided what to do ; as he continued to gaze upon it, amidst the gathering shadows, he became convinced that the form and features were those of young Fitzgerald, and as the conviction became stronger and more firmly fixed in his mind, the apparition made a more terrible impression upon him. In this unpleasant and bewildering situation he stood, when to his great relief he heard a knock- ing at the back entrance. Without removing his eyes from the object before him ; Shiel called out, 294 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. to come in by the stone steps, who ever it was. He now felt a great relief, and a feeling of indescribable thankfulness to Providence for such timely succor filled his anxious mind. He now heard the sound of footsteps above, then descending the back stairs he had descended, then in the hall approaching, and he called out again, u come this way," but never removed his eyes from the apparition which he expected would disappear upon the approach of the strange visitor, but no, there it stood until the new comer stood in the room. It was Doctor Kennedy. " Is that you Kennedy ?" " What ! Shiel, you here ? " replied the doctor in surprise. " thank God you have come, said the latter, what does all this around me mean ? do you see anything before me there ? It is the form and features of Fitzgerald." " So it is, said Kennedy, poor fellow, saved from the gallows as you see him, I will tell you all in a moment. How are the patients ? " " Dead," said Shiel, " dead, I found them dead when I entered, and feared it was murder." Doctor Kennedy lighted a candle which stood on the mantle piece and examined the dead. Dead both were, mistress and domestic, and for some Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 295 hours. When Shiel looked upon the face of Cons- tance Fitzgerald, looking so calm and lovely in death, he utterred an agonizing cry and said, " my darling Constance dead." As he stood up from the sofa, exclaiming " Constance dead/' and turned his face full upon Fitzgerald, the latter uttered a cry or groan repeating Shiel's words, " dead ! Constance dead ! no, when ? how ? " Kennedy started up in amazement, excitedly asking " that's not Fitzgerald spoke ? " " It is," said Shiel, "he repeated my words as I stood before him." " How am I here ? " said Fitzgerald, f< Is Cons- tance dead ? where is she ? The court house scene has done it,'' all this he said in a stammering jerking tone. His eyes now fell upon Constance, and he threw himself down beside her, groaned and wept, yes wept most piteously, violently. He tossed himself to and fro in a paroxysm of grief, to the utter amaze- ment of the doctor, much more so than to Shiel. Kennedy took the latter aside and with feelings of most nervous excitement, explained to him that after the execution, the body of Fitzgerald was cut down immediately, • that his feet having struck the ground, the neck was not broken, only partial * 296 Scents and Incidents in Irish Life, strangulation and the terrible shock to the nervous system resulted ; that during the drive from the jail to Ferndell he resorted to every means to restore respiration and circulation, which, when he arrived he was enabled to carry out more effectually by bleeding and other means, assisted by poor Constance Fitzgerald and the old servant. After much work and untiring care and attention, they were rewarded by bringing him to, just as he saw him when he entered, but that he had never heard him utter a word since, nor indeed did he seem to intelligently comprehend what was transpiring around him, but moving about like $ne in a dream or trance, or more correctly still, like an idiot of a certain class ; that he could only account for this ray of light or consciousness bursting upon him by some shock from Shiel's cry, and uttering Constance's name and dead, or looking him full in the face for the first time since the terrible court scene ; evidently both had combined in acting upon him, with the extraordinary result before them, and that the violent grief would no doubt act upon him with still better and further results, at which he rejoiced, but then he added with a sigh, " how dreadfully sad is it to think that after a twelve months' untiring love and devotion, and the terrible seclusion for the sake of the darling Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 297 object of her affections and prayers, and the terrible anxiety and ordeal she endured day and night, she should not hear him utter a word." He appeared to have realized her presence to some extent, and to have been influenced by her ; under any circumstances to have him wa3 a comfort, but the unceasing strain of watching and care, and to prevent it going abroad that he was alive, never taking open air exercise, all combined were too much for that feeble frame which had to succumb. The poor old woman had been most faithful too, she had been ailing for some time past and had evidently died first, this last shock was the climax no doubt, and as she sat or knelt by the bed where lay her faithful and devoted old domestic and friend, who had been in the family for the last fifty years, and cared for her from her infancy had now passed away uttering her last blessing and word to her young mistress, it was too much for that over- burdened heart and crushed life, so she bowed her lovely head upon that bed, in lonely grief and silent prayer, and thus passed away to a brighter and more peaceful home, and now left her terrible secret to others to keep and care for. This was the doctor's story of what he was cognizant, and the last what he conjectured, which was no doubt correct also. 298 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. A letter lay on the table addressed to Mary Clay- more, It had been written for some time ; it was a letter full of the tenderest affection and saying she felt $he would not live very long. This letter was kept for many years afterwards, and whenever it was turned over, a tear was let fall upon it, and a sigh heaved from the innermost re- cesses of Mary Claymore's heart, as she also told the sad tale of the unfortunate young girl. William D'Arcy was written to, begging of him to come post haste to Ferndell, and if possible Mrs. Claymore with him, that there was a most impor- tant secret to be unfolded to him, and a matter of surpassing importance to be laid before him, which no one but himself could act upon or undertake with any hope of success. William D'Arey and Mary Claymore hastened to Ferndell with all possible despatch, the surprise and astonishment of both can be better imagined than described, the whole scene within the walls of that home beggars description. Poor Fitzgerald with the help of the doctor had by this time come to realize everything, as he stood before his old but faithful friends, it was a solemn meeting. Now the question was, what was to be done about Sce7ies and Incidents in Irish Life. 299 Fitzgerald, for fear it might become known he was alive. It was therefore resolved upon that a petition should be drawn up and presented to Lord Fitzwil- liam, who was to the great joy of the country the representative of the Crown in Ireland and most popular. William D'Arcy was the only man to present this petition, and without any loss of time he prepared to do so. In the meantime the last sad duties and rites respecting the dead, were being attended to by Edwin Shiel and Doctor Kennedy ; Mary Claymore acting as mistress of the household, helped by the wife of the old man who attended about the house. Fitzgerald remained secluded until the pardon was secured. Some leading names signed the petition, and together with Capt. D'Arcy presented it w r ith an humble but urgent and pathetic appeal to Earl Fitzwilliam, by whom it was graciously received and readily granted. This, notwithstanding the sorrow and gloom attaching to the whole affair, caused much rejoicing, and were it not for the sad scene at Ferndell, the whole country would have been one blaze of bonfires and rejoicing. The D'Arcy family were, if possible, more than ever the idols of the people. 300 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. It was well, however, that the petition was pre- sented when and to wBom it was, for Earl Fitz- william only continued altogether two months in office, when he was recalled, to the great grief of the people. "The day of his departure was one of general gloom," says an historian, ^the shops were shut, no business of any kind was transacted, and the whole city of Dublin put on mourning. His coach was drawn to the waterside by some of the most respectable citizens, and cordial sorrow was upon every countenance." Fitzgerald improved much under the care of some skilful doctors, together with Kennedy, who was in constant attendance. Old Bailey and his wife took care of the house, place and master, Shiel still continuing to manage. So Ferndell was once more silent, but its life and charms were gone, and forever, although its terrible pall was torn off or at least changed. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 301 CHAPTEK XII. KALEIDOSCOPIC CHAPTER. ILLIAM D'Arcy kept open-house, as the saying goes, and true it is, attach what meaning you like to it, " where the car- case is thither will the eagles be gathered to- gether.'' The butterflies and honey bees often find their way into the house of open doors, but on close contact one will lose the colors, and the other will leave a sting. Such are the experiences of life. Gay dinner parties were given at Gurteen. Henry D'Arcy and a couple of officers were there for the shooting season, when nothing but merriment re- sounded upon all sides. William remained at home with his mother and sister and her two boys ; the older one Henry the other Francis William. Except for a brief trip to London, he was seldom away for any length of time. One fault he had, and it was that of all his class, his expenditure far exceeded his income. And to save selling part of the property he was obliged to . u 302 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. borrow part of the fortunes of his two sisters. He was, in short, becoming embarrassed, and seriously. Mrs. D'Arcy was now well advanced in years, and began to fail rapidly, she was often to be met, accompanied by Mary Claymore ? out driving in a little low vehicle, drawn by a donkey, as she visited the poor and sick. It was amusing to see how she enjoyed the con- sequential and polite attention and enquiries of a yvell known character, Concanon, known as "the major" to all the country around. He was always mounted on an old charger, with a Cavalry man's saddle. Both were presented to Mm by two or three young gentlemen in the place, both to carae amusement and annoyance. There was- an old property and residence in the neighborhood,, which had been appropriated by the government, an official from the castle by some means got possession of it„ he styled himself major, but of what no one could find out, Kone of the gentry around called upon him or took any notice of him. He was appointed a J. P,, was no horseman ; this he found was against him amongst a fox hunting people, so he commenced to practice privately in his own grounds. As there was a striking resemblance between Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 303 himself and Concanon, who was a simpleton, but had free access to every house and presence ; the latter became greatly puffed up when he was told he was so like Major de Bujette, or, as the people pronounced it " the Budget," to the great annoyance of its owner. Thinking it would be good policy de Bujette enployed an Irish groom, to advise him as to his style of horse and riding deportment. He bought a horse which had the habit of letting fly its beels now and again, but that, Mike gravely assured him, was just the animal for him to practice with, if he ever intinded to hunt. The animal, moreover before it kicked, had the habit of switching its tail, and then making it rigid at an angle of forty-five degrees, as if it wanted to kick that appendage off. This habit was turned to account. Mike was instructed to walk, or ride be- hind, and to tell when there was any indication of the back action, — as the mechanic would say. — being employed ; when Mike would cry out, " tail yer honor," when bang would go the heels, and de Bujette would grip the saddle, but, forgetting, would let in the spurs, making an unexpected and un- pleasant encore for the actor, but most enjoyable for the audience. Concanon rode through the country, and was 304 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. styled Major, and all who met him saluted him, and some would ask his honner the time o'day, as he carried an old watch of huge dimensions, which he pulled out with great ostentation. When he would come to G-urteen with a letter from some of the gentlemen around, for he was continually so employed, he would be made act the Major up and down the lawn, when some one would insert a bunch of thistles or nettles under the animal's tail, and an uproarous scene was the result. Some would cry out now and again, 66 tail yer honner." The old brute would pause at intervals from sheer exhaustion, when the Major would fix his old caubeen and prepare for another game of pitch and toss. Another scene might have been witnessed at times, when the workmen and women were done their day's work in the summer time. They were all assembled around the hall door, and an old blind piper, who was a constant visitor at Gurteen, was seated outside. There the dancing and merriment was indulged in to the full. Old Mrs. D'Arcy, seated in her armchair, looking on and enjoying the scene, beside her sat Mary Claymore; her two sons either talking to the Major and praising his horsemanship, or near the piper's drones. William D'Arcy would whisper to the Major, to ask Mrs. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 307 Claymore to dance, whereupon the Major would step forward, hat in hand, and ask if " her ladyship, Mrs. Claymore, would afford her humble sarvint the honnerable foilicity of meantherin a step wid him." Not to spoil the fun, Mary Claymore would say, thank you Major, I shall be most happy. When, without any of give-her-your-arm style, each one would take his or her respective places and partners, amid the greatest cheering. The Major looking as if he had the drop, as well as the dropsy in his head and chest, and walking on the tops of his toes, his old rusty spurs sticking out behind, Cavalry style. One evening a most ludicrous scene occurred. The Major was dancing away, his hat on " three hairs," as the saying goes, his hands on his hips, + he hopping away upon one leg most extravagantly, when suddenly, as one of the girls was whirling past him, her dress caught in the spur of the foot on the ground, when round he went like a spinning jennie, and away went the leg, and sprawl went the Major, to the greatest delight and distress of the assembly ! distress because of the convulsions into which they were thrown. It is needless to allude to the cause of the delight, for spectators always take great delight in such disasters and actors. 308 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. A round of punch and bread-and-butter would then be handed to each. After which three cheers would be given for the Master and the whole family, and then one for the Major, who would mount his charger to. leave, one of the servants running to hold the horse's head and stirrups^ for his honner to mount, while another would pay at- tention to the animal's tail, with the decoration of a nettle or thistle, and sing out " tail yer honner," as the animal went in buck jumps, only not switching its tail, but on the contrary pressing it home tight, to hold the exhilerating, and inspiriting weed. A* he went along the road the people would cry out " tail yer honner." When de Bujette heard of this he was furious, * and little as it seems, it made him one of the most unhappy of men. And when he heard the ridicu- lous pronunciation of his name said to his face with all gravity, Mr. the Budget, he would feel much annoyed, but when he looked at the innocent look- ing grave face of the individual, hat in hand, he would not know what to say. There was also in the parish a fiddler — was there* ever a parish without one, or a piper — he walked about a short distance with a crutch and stick, but travelled from place to place with a donkey and car ; Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 309 his name was Meara, nicknamed Murragher. He was always a welcome visitor too, and I need hardly add was fond of the crayther, and it was stoutly asserted that himself, or Mickey Hobbins, the piper* always played grand, when they were possessed of the sperits, or vice versa. Well one day Murragher arrived, escorted by the Major, an l, as it happened, Hobbins, the piper, was there. Well there was music that night in the kitchen, which was full of the men and women about the yard and place. Hornpipes were danced, songs sung, melodies played, solos and duets until far into the night. At length all had retired for the night. The fiddler and piper were to sleep to- gether. The Major upon a shake-down in the same room, as also a bottle of potheen. The minstrels were gone to bed after a fashion? the major was stitching some part of his breeches, which was trying to effect a divorce from that to which it had been joined, whether incongruously or not is beside the question. He was snuffing the candle from time to time with his fingers ; on one occasion catching the wick a little too low down* because of some unsteadiness in the floor or table, as he said, he slapped the candle on the floor instead of the snuff and muttered that " the ould boy was in 310 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. the candle." He then groped his way to the kitchen to light it, when he returned he found the two musi- cians out of bed and going for their respective instruments to play, because of a dispute which arose as to their individual merits, as performers, and their holding-out qualities. Each tuned up ; the major was to act as umpire, all took a drop before taxing their energies, then at it they went, orderly at first, gliding gradually into the disorderly and discor- dantly, it was " one at a time av ye please " at first, as the major commanded, then one party grew impatient and dashed at it two together, Murragher hurrahing like an indian. The major snapping his fingers, and now and again slapping where his nether garments were, about which he altogether forgot in his excitement, and crying out " busht yer bags, bravo Hobbins, hurroo, begorra but the devil is in the pipes merely." This scene was in full blast when the door was soon surrounded by all the servants, half dressed, the women as well as the men, but what a scene I there was the major in highland costume, not minding any one or any thing only that for which he was selected, namely, to act as judge in this musical contest, and he did his duty, for after a long contest and uproar, they were both pronounced the best, and put to bed, and once more the house Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 311 was in silence, with a feeling of sorrow that even fun and the ludicrous tire us out. Next morning another scene was enacted ; the major in his excitement had put the needle in too far, completely stopping the way of ingress for one branch of his understanding. In other words stitched up one leg of his inexpressibles, so could not get into them. The musicians offered the opinion that the fairies were in the room through the night, the major responding " begorra there wor some kind av sperits," and so waited patiently until one of the women prepared the way for his vagabond leg, by opening the highway and closing the bye way. The next morning there was a hearty laugh over the whole scene as described by one of the servants, who was an eye-witness, nor did the picture lose anything in the retouching process. Now the truth is, this class of persons were indispensable attaches to those families of the olden time, they were really both useful and ornamental ; the minstrels helped to drive away sorrow and gloom and weariness, and to promote cheerfulness. The fatigue of the day vanished with the mirth inspiring strains of the pipes or fiddle. And, I repeat, that a people susceptible of such feelings, emotion^ or impulses, are easily won and governed, if only % 3 12 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. the spirit of avarice and selfish ambition are not allowed to bear sway. But, as Lord Bacon says, *' there are some who would set a neighbor's house •on fire to roast their own eggs," so has it been with* many who were entrusted with the government of Ireland. Weil the morning following the scene just des- cribed, Murragher was walking around the haggard where the men were at work in the barn winnowing wheat or oats ; his ass was picking some grains out of the chaff, when William D'Arcy and a gentleman were returning from some shooting ; they w T ere laughing heartily over the trial of strength between the two musicians with the major as an umpire, and one of them was just telling what Murragher had said to a musical friend whose attention was attracted by his loud music and good time, " my friend, said the gentleman, how do you play, by note or by ear." " Begor by naither yer homier I play by mainstrenth." They had now come to the barn- door where stood the fiddler looking at his ass ; " come now Murragher," said D'Arcy, " what will you take and give me a shot at the ass, I will promise not to kill him." The other scratched his head for a moment, and then said, " begorra, blaize away misther William for half a crown." A bargain, said Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 313 D'Arcy, as he lifted the fowling piece to his shoulder. The ass at the same moment lifted his head and cocked his ears, as much as to say " what's coming now" ? just then D'Arcy let fly, taking aim at the animal's tail ; if ever a brute was astonished it was that. Its capers and antics and bewilderment and wagging its tail w 7 as surprising. It shot out of the haggard just as the major w T as leading his charger to the stables to saddle, knocked the major clean over, sprawling, it continued its course furiously, kicking like de BujetWs horse, at its own tail, because of the sensation produced there, and the unusual irritation. The animal stopped once as if to think but suddenly wagging its tail started again. Murragher got the half crown ; this was a plain illustration of the old saying " money makes the old mare go." The results of that shot did not end there — more than shot was infused. In the evening as ilurragher was leaving and had got into the car and was lifting his crutch after him, the ass thought it was the gun being aimed at him again and started at a furious rate down the avenue, throwing Murragher on his back. On went the ass, out on the high road, the fiddler cursing, as he flew by houses and people ; they all wondered whether it was the ass or its master had got too much. They 314 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. concluded it was both. Ever afterwards the fiddler had only to point his crutch at the ass accompanied with a shot of his tongue and it was off. This lasted for a long time, but it soon grew used to the imposture. One day some time after this, the animal was hungry and ate too much rich grass in the lawn, lay down and died. When Murragher saw it, he walked over and surveyed it for a while, and said, " the devil's luck to you, what a place you should die ; in the middle of plenty, and to give a bad name to the place." He got the price of another from the mistress, so soon forgot the dead donkey ; the moment he took his fiddle in his hand he played and sang a ballad called " Doran's ass," by way of a lament. If there is a day of mirth there is also one of mourning, so did the family of Gurteen realise. The old mistress of that home is drawing to the close of her useful life, her last moments have arrived, her two daughter are by her bedside and her eldest son ; the other is with his regiment ; except for this she feels happy ; as she looks upon each she tells them she will soon be with her beloved, her clergy- man is beside her, and administers the last blessed comfort and rite of the church, and she feels happy waiting her Saviour's call to rest. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 315 Father Luke, the good priest, calls to see her and with heartfelt sorrow beholds the fast fading face of his once genial, happy and hospitable hostess, and departs with a heavy heart and fervent prayer for her everlasting peace. The servants feel a gloom hangs over them as also the tenants and neighbors, and genuine sorrow is traced in every countenance and told by every tongue. Two of the servants were returning from a dance some time ago, and as they turned up the avenue, they heard a carriage roll along the high road, and through the avenue gate, although they knew it was shut, and swept past them towards the house and was gone. They fled in terror to the house, rushing into the kitchen fainting, and after recovering from their fright, related the terrible news of the dead watch rolling past them, along the avenue towards the house. As they related the fact of the ghostly visitor, every face had depicted upon it the utmost consternation and dread. It was told in hushed voice and with bated breath, and each and all charged not to speak a word about it. But all said, " it is the poor ould mistress, the Lord betune us an harm. ,, Mrs. D'Arcy is speaking her last sad words to her beloved children and her two grandsons, who 316 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. stand beside her bed weeping, as she tells them she will soon be at rest, warns them to be kind to the poor, tells the two weeping boys to love and obey their mother, for her sake, and that God will bless them. In failing, faltering voice she said " God bless you Lucy and my poor widowed Mary, God bless you William, be kind to all, lay me beside your father, tell Henry " Here her voice failed to speak the loving message to her absent son, her lips continued to move in silence and then ceased, her head fell back on the arm of Mary, and her eyes closed in death for ever. The loving and tender hearted mistress of Gurteen was no more. A sup- pressed wail now filled the halls of Gurteen and was taken up without, and soon the sad news was communicated to every hut and hovel for miles, and once again the sounds of mirth and innocent enjoy- ment were hushed beneath the silent pall of sorrow and gloom, which the sable- winged angel of death shed from his outstretched plumes as he hovered over this old Irish home and refuge for the poor and oppressed, for such it was ; nor is this anything extraordinary, but, on the contrary, was the custom and almost universal character of the old and native Irish families ; such cannot be said of the class of immi- grants and adventurers that are swarming over the Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 317 country to-day ? like the locusts of Egypt or its frogs. The scene at the house, waking the dead, was similar to that which has been described at the death of Mr. D'Arcy some years before, as also at his funeral. The old vault was once again made to open its awful portals to receive its victim. Mrs. D'Arcy's remains were gently laid beside her beloved husband's, and the unbroken silence of the tomb was again reigning, and the ancient dead unheeding and unconscious of the accession to their numbers slept their last sleep. Nor was the form of poor old Kit Murrought to be seen as in days past, kneeling and praying among and for the departed dead, in her lonely home of departed greatness. The blank that now existed and was painfully felt in Gurteen w r as oppressive and scarcely sup- portable. After a few days Lucy w T as gone, and poor Mary Claymore stood the lone, temporary mistress of the old home ; she wept, but devoted her time if possible more than ever to the relief of the poor and sick. For in. truth this brought herself relief, and kept her from brooding over her troubles and sorrows. Thus time sped onwards, twelve months have gone past and William D'Arcy's debts press upon him ; he must retrieve his position and pro ,pects 318 Scenes and Incidents in Irish, Life. by marriage. He owes a large sum to both his sisters, he accordingly marries, gets a large fortune with his wife, which still falls far short of meeting his indebtedness. He is only able to pay part of what he owes his sisters. Mary Claymore's is a large sum of money, which she invests in certain stocks, by the advice of Lord Finch, and having done so proceeds to England, visits the grave of poor Clay- more, and spends some time amongst old friends, one of them the Countess Contumello, who with much riches, and no husband, spends much of her time in frivolous gaiety and fashion. All this, how- ever, is tiresome to Mary Claymore, she is sitting at breakfast one morning chatting away about old times, when she receive news that Lord Finch has com- mitted suicide in Trinity College, Dublin, because of some pecuniary embarrassment, or failure in some banking speculation. The paper drops from the hands of Mary Claymore, as she realizes only too clearly her position, which is further confirmed by a letter which arrives somewhat later. She at once returns to Ireland, to find that only a few pounds remain of all she had, and for the first time she experiences the feelings which come to the homeless and penniless, and she sat down and wept and thought of her home and beloved father and mother. Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 819 She would not turn into the house of a brother or sister married. To add to her affliction, news of the death of her younger brother reached her. He was with the army on the continent, and received a bullet wound of which he died. She appealed to her brother at Gurteen, but he was so badly involved that the property was placed in the insolvent or landed estates court, and William D'Arcy was compelled to rent his own property, or rather a small portion of it. Unable to bear up under the disgrace or humiliation of his reduced and altered circumstances, he went to France, from whence he never afterwards returned, and the glory of Gurteen was departed and for ever. One day an old carriage drove up to an unoccu- pied and somewhat dilapidated old residence, of some pretensions to the character at least of departed gentility. It stood in a bleak and lonely situation amongst the mountains of Wicklow. It had the reputation of being haunted, and moreover, to lend additional weight as also dread to these reports, the last tenant who occupied it was a doctor, and it was said, he (to use a popular phrase) cut up dead bodies, and buried them in an old mound or remains of some old fort near by. Nevertheless, to a person without house, or home, or friends, except those you V 320 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. knew in the days of power and prosperity , which does not amount to much in the day of adversity, as those who know the world can testify, this bleak old house was a peaceful asylum. So thought Mary Claymore, as she sat down on an old box in one of the rcjoms, having dismissed the hackney and paid the man out of her scanty purse ; she hid her face in her hands, and wept in utter desolation and despair, while the two boys wandered all over the old house ; she thrdw herself on her knees and prayed to Him who watches over the widow and fatherless. She set to work now to arrange what little furni- ture she had sent on before, assisted by the two boys, on whom she felt she had to rely henceforth for much, and in her present desolation and distress realized God's goodness in having given them to her. But as she worked and grew weary she would sit down and weep afresh ; it appeared to her as if it was only yesterday she was in her own dear old home, with her beloved father and mother to comfort her, and as she cried and exclaimed : a Oh! that I was in the grave beside my dearest Henry, or in the silent tomb beside my darling father and mother, then would I be at rest ;" " mother, don't say that, what would we do then ? " said the younger son, Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 321 Francis William, " dearest mother don't fret in that manner, Henry and I will work for you and help you, only stay with us here and we will be all right, some of our friends who are rich and can get what they ask for will get Henry and me situations and we will have enough." u my boy, you little know what you are talking about, when you think the rich and influential friends will provide for us ? or think of us when we are in want," said the dis- consolate widow, the friendless friend of the poor. Her sister wrote to her to come to her to England, but she refused, feeling it would not be wise, and that she might better taste the bitter cup at once' and equip herself for the battle of life. She was in the house as a caretaker nominally, and would therefore have no rent to pay. The boys found some coal in the cellar, as also some dried cattle manure, gathered off the pastures around in summer time, — this was commonly done by the poor as well as many others in this section of the coun- try. There were also some old cases in the cellar and garret which were a great boon, and these little commodities caused much happiness and thankful- ness in the forlorn heart of the widow. It is won- derful what small and insignificant things contri- bute to our happiness, in a large degree, in some of 322 Sceries and Incidents in Irish Life. the ups and downs of life, and under varied cir- cumstances. . This was now particularly the case, seeing it was in the month of February, There was another room in the back part of the house which they had not yet entered ; the windows were shut and the room was quite dark, so the boys opened the shutters, when, to their astonishment, two human skulls stood grinning at them from out of a corner cupboard, as also some other human bones. The boys fled from the room and in great excitement, communicated their ghastly discovery to their mother. She at once perceived that this room had been used as a surgery, and by her old acquaintance and the friend of the unfortunate Fitzgeralds, Doctor Kennedy, who had to fly to France, where he swore- eternal hatred to England. He afterwards served under Napoleon with distinction and against England^ Mary Claymore drew the boys to one of the windows, and, pointing out a clump of trees in the distance, told them the sad history of the Fitzgeralds, as she added, and that is their residence, and pro- mised that next day they would walk over and visit it. As she related the mournful story, she paused at intervals to dry her tears and repress the feelings of a bursting heart. She thought to herself "if poor Fitzgerald and his sister Constance were there to-day, Scenes and Incidents in Irish Llje. 323 I would not want true sympathy or friendship, or even a home." Fitzgerald had some time ago followed his de- voted sister to the grave where the oppressor and • oppressed meet together. The next day the mother took her two sons and walked across a bleak stretch of country to the residence of her old friends. As they climbed over an old stile and into the orchard, the outhouses and back of the dwelling presented a weird picture. The boys walked and talked in a subdued manner near to their mother, none scarcely attempting to utter a syllable. There were the old stone steps which Shiel ascended that terrible evening already described. The door at the head of the steps stood open and black looking. The grass, long and half- withered, covered the thatched roof; some rabbits sat up for a second to look at the intruders, with their great long ears erect, and then shot into their burrows. Mary Claymore walked, w T ith palpitating heart, around to the hall door, whilst the thoughts would rise up in her mind, " that Constance and her brother were within ; " the boys were thinking how to capture some of the rabbits. The place was a sad picture of desolation, more especially to one who had seen and known it in days gone by. 324 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. The boys procured a ferret and nets and often paid a visit to Ferndell, and captured several of the rabbits, which was a most acceptable acquisition to the dinner table. They learned to prepare them as well as to catch them, so that those exiles of the mountain, while yet in their bleak, desolate and haunted home, felt happiness and peace, for which the heart of the widow was thankful. Thus the weeks crept by ; the mother would occa- sionally accompany the boys, to the great joy of the latter, who felt a delight in displaying their skill before her, and as they caught a rabbit the laughter of the boys rang out, nor could their mother help laugh- ing at their success and glee ; some rays of sunshine broke through the dark and icy gloom that had been enshrouding her heart. She was feeling after all happy, and with her boys, in these lonely wilds of Wicklow, experienced a peaceful calm, and often sat pondering over the past, as she gazed at the distant, deserted home of her deceased friends. In the meantime, however, she had written to all her old and most intimate friends to aid her in securing some suitable situation or employment, and from time to time walked to the distant post office, expecting replies. Some she received from England were cold and formal; she undertook to compare Semes and Incidents in Irish Life. 325 some of thein with letters received from the same parties in times past, but what a change of tone and difference of expression. She folded them in utter disappointment and disgust. One day the boys ran in, breathless with excite- ment and asked their mother to look through the window and see who was coming towards the house, she did, and to her astonishment, not unmingled with pleasure, she beheld the unmistakeable figure of the Major on his old Rosinante, jolting along at a gait that could not be well described. It was neither a walk, a trot nor an amble, but to describe it in musical terms, the time and movement was what would be best represented by a lot of grace notes, with an occasional full note, with a repeat at the end of the bar. In a little time he drew rein in yard, he looked quite dignified, he drew out his watch to see how long he had been on the road. He had been two days and most of the nights, barring his stoppages on the road to graze his charger. He had got the address from Father Luke, written on a piece of paper, and which he presented only to the priest of the different parishes he passed through as a safeguard against imposition. " What on earth made you come to seek me out 326 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, Concannon ?" said Mary Claymore to him, " you know I am poor and have nothing, nor can I do anything for any one now ; I have not even a bed for you to lie upon." " Arrah now, Mrs. Claymoore, don't talk in that low-hearted way, you used to visit the poor, and you wor niver offinded at the poor commin to you, you wor always plaised. I will make bould to ax you, av you don't want a man to work around the house, in the garden, and begor all I want is let me lie on the floor. Be the tare av war, Mrs. Claymoore, I could not shtand the counthry whin the young masther left, I was kilt intirely? and my heart was a painin me, so I says to Father Luke, says I, Mrs. Claymoore may be in want of some one to work fur her, since that divil Finch chated her out av her money by dyin, and the divil die along wid him, beggin your pardon Mrs. Claymoore, so you won't turn me off. Begor mysel and Dan"— meaning the old horse — " will work for you day and night, and live on anything ; and begor I'll get that, and as I look at yoursel, Misthress Claymoore, and masther Henry and masther William there, I'll be feelin intirely I am at ould Gurteen." " Poor fellow," thought Mary Clay- more, " he has feeling and affection, if he is only half-witted, and he shall stay," so he was installed Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 327 as rnan-of-all-work, and in five minutes was whist- ling around the place, and putting things in order. He found an old spade and shovel to his great joy. A little garden of potatoes were now to be sown, and he set about preparing the ground for them. Old ,Dan was allowed to range the fields around and got plenty. Mary Claymore at once began to feel that the arrival of the Major was after all a most providential thing, and proved of the greatest help to her. A few days after this a letter came from Father Luke. It told about the starting of the Major to find out the young mistress, that the poor fellow was fretting, and that it was pitiful to hear him. That he would go down to Gurteen and hang around the place all day and cry like a child. In the next place, the letter contained a loving and delicate address from the tenants of Gurteen and others, together with an order on the Bank at Dublin for the sum of fifty pounds, and begging acceptance of it as a small and insignificant token of respectful and affectionate esteem and remembrance. Mary Claymore sat down and cried, and felt how different is the sympathy of the poor from the rich. Accept it she should, for it was the offering of honest hearts and true, unstudied and untainted by policy 328 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. or any base motive, but the honest impulse of humble Irish hearts, who, appreciating kindness and affectionate thoughtfulness, thus practically acknow- ledged it. A letter also arrived from the good and kind- hearted master of Fernmount who, while a prisoner in his own house more or less on account of debt, still a warm invitation was extended to the widow and her two sons until such time as something presented itself for her to do. Here was another genuine specimen of Irish hospitality, although the individual offering the hospitality was greatly embarrassed. To each of those kind letters a most grateful reply was given, and out of the fulness of the heart, and Mary Claymore felt she was not yet friendless. There was great excitement in the house one night towards the end of March. The Major had prepared a room for himself adjoining the surgery, but did not know anything about his next-door neighbors : he had been told by a peasant who dwelt in the vicinity that the house was haunted, so one night he happened to "be awake, and listening to the howling of the wind through the old house, he heard it moaning and whistling, as if two opposing factions of ghosts were contending and were being moved Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 329 from despair to desperation, when to his horror and great alarm he heard a bang at the window of the adjoining room, and then the shutters rattling as if some one wanted to enter ; he jumped up, bawling out, pirates, pirates, fire, fire ! The two boys were alarmed, so w r as their mother, but she lighted a candle and made her way to where the Major was, bawling in the greatest state of excitement as he pointed to the next room, saying, " they're in there/ " who ?" said Mary Claymore, " begorra, I dunno, mam ; I heerd them comin through the window, men or mortial, ghost or ghoul." Mary proceeded to open the door, when out went the candle, " ow, ow the divils," roared the Major, " tare-an-ouns the divils look to them, they blew the candle out, and the diviiblow them; Til hould the door while you light it agin, begor they won't cum out here," and so he did hold on to the door with all his might and bawling all the time lustily. When the candle was relighted, the door was gradually opened, the first thing that met the Major's eyes were the two skulls, when he set up the most unearthly bawling, " there they are, ow, ow, there's the heads of the divils," but the boys told him those skulls were there all the time. But the window was found up, this puzzled all, 830 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. and could not be accounted for, only the Major declared that u the sowls were cummin for their heads, an no small blame to them, that it was the unnaturalest thing to leave them widout thim.'* The window was pulled down and shut up, but the Major stayed in the vicinity of the boys' room. When, after an hour or so had elapsed, he heard the window go up again with a bang, the room was again visited, when, lo, the window was up as before the Major was terrified and felt confident that the souls were after the skulls in the cupboard. It was very strange to say the least, and unaccountable. Mary Claymore was not superstitious, nor easily frightened, and for children of their years the two boys were brave ; they would not think of parting with the skulls, for they were a curiosity. Some little time would elapse and the window would remain undisturbed, and then again, when least expected, up it would go, and moreover it was a large and heavy window. Francis Claymore was one day standing in the room looking at the window thought- fully when a thought struck him, he set to work and tore away some of the casing of the window, and removed one of the weights, as the windows were raised by means of pulley, so he said he did not think the ghosts would return any more for their Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 331 skulls, and he was correct. In damp weather the window being swelled did not move, but in dry weather, and a little breeze shook the window, up it went ; so that was the last of the ghosts. The summer rolled by and the garden occupied the time of Mary Claymore, as also her man, the Major, who rode to the neighboring town for messages and mails, from time to time, and the boys enjoyed themselves hunting the rabbits. It was in the month of October a letter was received from Sir Edward Xewham, saying he thought Mary Claymore might be able to make sufficient to support herself and boys by opening a school near Fernmount, and that he was anxious she should be near him. As this pleased Mary well, so she prepared to take her departure at the end of October, which she did, closing up the house and leaving the two skulls in solemn and silent possession ; nor did she depart without a feeling of regret, for the old house had proved an asylum, and a peaceful refuge, and such as suited her feelings at the time, but now she was once more to revisit old familiar scenes and faces, perhaps, upon the whole, when they would conduce more to her happiness than had she come in contact with them a few months before. 332 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. She arrived at Fernmount November eve, and was greeted with a warm welcome and much sincere affection, and a genuine Irish halloween was spent and enjoyed ; apples were dived for in a huge wash- tub filled with water, others brought up a six-pence from the bottom with the mouth, and all the other accustomed and appropriate tricks and games of the night were indulged in by all. There was an old castle in the vicinity called Ballyaglish, a splendid old specimen of such build- ings. It was also reported to be haunted, the country people said that from time to time, or before the death of one of the family on whose property it was, a black man appeared at the grand entrance, rattling some chains, and cracking a great whip, out of which he knocked fire, when he at once disap- peared. A few of the farmers asked leave to dry their flax in the great lower room of the old castle, in which stood a great open and wide fire-place, so a number of them assembled, a huge turf fire roared up the great chimney, around on every side were the great dark passages leading up and down great flights of stone steps set in the thick, solid* walls of masonry. Songs and stories went the round, so as to pass away the time, ghost stories and strange appearances Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 333 and noises were told about, as all crowded nearer and nearer to the fire, and so as to get as far as possible from the dark passages, when, all av a suddint, as Pat would say, one song was interrupted as effectually as if the windpipe was severed, and each and all stared from one to the other, " did you hear anything, Jim?" says one, " Begorra I did if I baint mishtook," said another, " hould on," said the third, u blur-an-agers, the Lord be betune us an harm, if I didn't hear a chain rattling." Sure enough a chain was heard rattling at the top of the castle, and descending the stone steps, and approaching nearer and nearer. Every ear was strained to the utmost, and every eye appeared to start from the sockets, when, horror of horrors ! crash came chains down the stone steps. A general rush was made for the door, every one for himself, and Pluto take the hindmost. In the struggle to get out, some stuck in: the door and kept back others, none dared to curse, but their ejaculations were a strange medley. Frantic efforts were made, until at last over-pressure, like the compressed air in an air-gun, shot them out, and, regardless of steps to the ground, four feet beneath them, they tumbled out in amass. Scarcely giving themselves time to get to their feet, they fled like madmen, throwing themselves over walls and forcing 334 Scents and Incidents in Irish Life. through hedges, they made for the first house and carried the door before them as unceremoniously as they left the other one behind them. It was a sur- prising retreat while it lasted, the effects of the fun did not die out for many a day afterwards. The truth of the story was this, the old mistress . of the adjoining residence was a stout-hearted old lady, so she crept up the great winding stone stairs, leading up through the wall from the grand entrance, and in the black darkness of those sepulchral passages reached the top, where some chains of ploughs or carts were thrown, with these she began to descend, and as she got half way down, flung them forward, with the result just described. In the vicinity of Fernmount Mary Claymore spent some years until her eldest boy was about eighteen. He joined the army and died while yet in the prime of life, but far away from the mother who had loved and watched over him. Her sole support and comfort was now her younger, Francis William, but, after a little, her friend Sir Edward Newham became more and more embarrassed and had to bow to fate. Warrant after warrant was issued to arrest him for debt, so one dark stormy night when, as the saying goes, " you would not turn an enemy's dog from your door/' Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 335 the kind-hearted owner of Fernmount gathered all his little circle around him and said " fare well " to them. It was a sad parting, he was about to commit himself to the care of two faithful followers to row him down the Shannon and over to the Gal- way side, where he could not be arrested until fresh warrants were again secured, and he could, unchal- lenged, reach Galway city or Limerick and escape to France. The nicrht was dark as a dungeon as he made his way down through the old rookery to edge of the Shannon; the waters were being lashed upon the shore by the wind furiously. Sir Edward wrapped himself in his great cloak, sat in the stern of the boat, took the tiller, and said, " shove her off, Claymore farewell, God be with you my boy ; God be with you Fernmount, farewell for ever/' and the boat shot out over the dark and angry water and was lost to sight on the bosom of Lough Derg. Poor Lady Xewham spent an anxious night, as also Mary Claymore and the whole family. The house was kept closely barred as usual for a couple of days, to make believe Sir Edward was there still. But when it became known he was escaped the disap- pointment of some of the limbs of the law was great, and as to the creditors they were furious, w 336 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, because they were robbed of the gratification of seeing his body rot and die in prison. His family followed him soon after to France, and the glories of the Ne whams in grand old Fern* mount were gone and for ever. One son was an officer in the navy and another went to travel on the continent as a pedestrian tourist. Francis Claymore obtained an appointment under the government of the time, and was once more in the vicinity of Garreen castle, his poor mother with him, of whom he was always fond, and she watched over him with loving solicitude. He got married in time, and renting a farm not far from Banagher, lived there for some years. Mary Claymore was now a grand-mother, bent and aged ; she took her grandson by the hand and walked about the fields with him. He was called after his father, she taught him to read and pray as she did his father, when a boy in old Gurteen. One morning as the first snow of winter lay on the ground, all were called from their beds to the bedside of Mary Clay- more, and as she lay dyin g in peace, she said to her grandson, " read the word of God and meet me in Heaven. p These were the last words of the last of the D'Arey family of old Gurteen and all her trials and sorrows were over, and truly she had her share • Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 337 She was quietly borne to her last resting-place in the old church-yard of Banagher, and the soft white snow fell gently upon her grave, emblematic of the life and character of her who was once known as Mary Eleanor D'Arcy of Gurteen. Several of these old estates, such as described, have fallen into the hands of English speculators, tradesmen, shopkeepers, weavers and innkeepers, who come over from time to time to gather the pounds of flesh from the bodies of the poor hardwork- ing Irishmen and women, widows and orphans, in exorbitant rents, which if not paid ejection follows, thereby destroying effectually all feeling of security and idea of permanency. All attachment to and interest in a home is completely annihilated, and thus successfully severing the anchor-chain by which Ireland's affections and interests were or might still be chained to England ; and that a few specu- lators who have no interest in Ireland beyond their own selfish ends should be allowed to alienate the affections of a people from the crown and throne ; for whose honor and maintenance they have fought and died, is beyond comprehension. It is beyond reasonable dispute that a species of slavery has been carried on in Ireland, and winked at by each successive government, because of a 338 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. political policy and expediency which would sacrifice the wronged and enslaved, despite the agonizing cry for justice and humanity, and the frantic efforts put forth to get an impartial hearing and examination into past wrongs and present evils, from a power above the cloud of political hacks and self-interested underlings, who, fencing round the throne, and usurping power, thrust back every plea and petition, and if a pleading cry was raised by the unfortunate petitioner, a hideous din of voices crying rebel and rebellion was raised, which effectually drowned the plea for justice and mercy. A fixity of tenure must be secured, a local govern- ment granted the same as to Canada, with her upper and lower houses of legislature, against which, never- theless, there is much to be said. But if Britain accords such privileges to all branches of her exten- sive household except to Ireland the latter surely has some grounds for complaint. The resident landlords seldom oppressed the tenant. They resided amongst the people and spent their incomes amongst them, knew and talked with them face to face, not through some tyrannical agent, who, to increase his stipend and influence with the landed proprietor — who judged and appreciated all things by his rent-roll and income, knowing little Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 339 and caring less as to how it came or by what means, so that it was remitted to him to England — oppressed the helpless tenant and extorted all he could from him. Ireland will be loyal to the laws of England, and join issues with her, if she will only be loyal to the laws of humanity and, with bandaged, eyes poise the scales of justice and judgment. Away with speculating landlordism. Give the rightful owners of the soils the sons and daughters of Erin, a chance to own their own homes and enjoy the fruits of their labors, as a recompense and atonement for past oppressions and confiscations ; then up with the flag of the union, when it will mean something, and let it wave over the Irish Local House of Parliament in Dublin. The Yankee shark, adventurer, stump orator and intriguer will be choked off, and the sweet little shamrock of Erin will bloom and look lovely at the foot of the throne, or in the crown, and be looked upon not as an emblem of strife but of our great and common faith and political fact : — TRIA JUXCTA IX UNO. % The shamrock, the rose and the thistle. 40 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. A TRIBUTE OF LOVE. Kedolent still is the breath of sweet Erin Of roses and cowslips and violets blue, The primrose blooms sweet by th' old Danish cairn, Where the honey-bee stops for to sip off the dew. Vocal is still the sweet air of dear Erin ' Yfith notes of each songster in bush and in tree, The skylark mounts up, for she has a share in The land that should ring with the songs of the free. Green is the memory still of sweet Erin As th' ivy that clings to the old Abbey wall, Fresh as the clear, crystal springs that appear in The breast of that Island, the sweetest of all. Noble be ever the sons of old Erin, All lovely her daughters in virtue and face ; Thy waters of peace my bark I shall steer in, And 'neath thy green sod find aJLast resting-place. KIND READER, ADIEU.